The church needs to be a home and a hub for creativity. Simple arrangements with smooth stones, and flowers plus candles does wonders to what could have been a plain altar. Of course, for the creativity to have greater depth then one can dig deeper into resources from spirituality and theology – e.g. thinking about the passage in Matthew 6 about God the father and creator clothing us just like the lilies of the field. The stones can lead us to meditate on how the waters of life smoothens our rough edges as time passes by.
Experiencing the power of "storytelling" (or in this case Chronological Bible Storying) afresh on Saturday which reconfirms some of the assumptions I have held for sometime but appreciate the lead into some practical aspects of working them out.
In short, I have always felt especially in our less literate or post-literate social-cultural mix in Malaysia, we have been too quick to give up the best of our oral culture, or too slow in re-accessing what is originally our strength.
Apart from the cultural aspects, I think there are some important theological conversations we need to re-ignite when we look at the narrative power of the Gospel and in relation to life and ministry. Too often, we tend to reduce "Story" to mere methodological considerations when there are deeper insights to help us integrate our theology, spirituality and praxis, in a way which is liberating!
So, while I strongly believe in it’s educational value and the caution of not throwing out the history of literacy, I also see the implications wider than just being a useful tool. But then, I must confess my bias as always … I want to ask "theological" questions, and consider it through that lens. Somehow, due to our understanding of "incarnation", there is a sense where the method or medium God uses to reveal himself carries with it his revelation as well. 🙂
I realize that I can be a little bit more impatient nowadays. Impatient with situations or even people whom in my perception have too many preset ideas on matters which are less on my priority list of authoritative matters. But then, I’m also well aware that this is a choice on my side on what is crucial and needs attention. I’m also very aware that the way I have come to this list is because of multiple experiences and reflections through the years. So, while I would advocate these as important, I will not impose them on others unthinkingly.
Maybe because of hopefully growing discernment, it’s not too hard to roughly predict some scenarios for the future. Not one or two, but maybe three or four (I push myself always to not think in polarities … so, adding a third perspective always helps in that direction.) The challenge is always to appreciate the sincerity in our quest on any given concern, and yet, have an honest assessment on what are the best possible steps forward (notice the plural!) 🙂
Looking back, I have endorsed people on numerous occasions. So far, I can safely say there has been much good emerging from these "endorsements" and "recommendations". There are quite a number of flops, then again, I’m not perfect in all my assessments. There is a great tendency for me to be more supportive than cautious. I do believe people need to be encouraged. And yet, I do see the need to add some informed cautions. Because after quite a few bumps on my head, we can save each other, and people whom we desire to work with, and God some heart ache.
Okay, maybe God is more patient than I am. So, I limit my comments humanly speaking. Time and energy is limited. And while we will never have the ideal "sterile" circumstances to operate in. But I do believe that we can discern dangers or opportunities before us with relative accuracy. The better word for it is "wisdom. But that’s not something we get from memorizing formulas.
I think I’m a little long winded. It’s Monday.