Actually June 5th is also our wedding anniversary, but that will need another post. 🙂
The whole days programme was packed as usual. I was intrigued by the morning devotion which revolved around the “water” metaphor. There was even a special “water communion” where participants were invited to taste “water” while identifying with those where having “drinking” water was a genuine struggle (I recall a LWF telling me this is NOT Holy Communion so don’t worry it’s OK, that was amusing). Maybe some of this might sound strange to our more “conservative” minded Christians here in Malaysia (it’s always easy to cry out “liberal” – fancy – overcreative, etc) Personally, I appreciate any genuine effort to try to connect our worship, and message to the realities of our daily life. And yet, I also believe there’s an important need to have a Christ-centredness in our approach that we will allow that to shine a distinctiveness of the kind of worship we offer and whom we represent.
Then the “money matters” session is eye-opening with the reality of the financial struggle organizations like LWF will face in years to come. For example, one interesting point was whether they could meet the budget even for the next assembly in time. The relalities of the financial crisis of many mainline denominations due to church membership decline and tax revisions especially for churches that had close relations to the state in the past will really hit them personally but definately affect their contribution to programmes related to the LWF. Never before (I presume), has the organization of this stature faced such a challenge. The LWF Office for Finance and Administration has an uphill battle ahead (opps ! must be careful with military metaphors here *grin*).
A challenge was also given to the Lutheran Communion in Asia of how we can move from the mere receiving end to a place where we can give. This call was given in the context of the Lutheran endowment fund. I suppose when one deals with “money matters” there’s a lot of blank faces and silence. As always it’s a delicate matter, I wonder why? 🙂 How one raises money is important these days … it does reflect our values huh?
I had to skip the afternoon and evening because we were invited to a Confirmation Service of one of our friends. This brought back some memories of my own confirmation. Ah .. another post needed for this too!
I was actually looking forward to “engage” Dr. Karen Bloomquist’s paper on “Engaging Theological Challenges as Asian Churches” out of personal interest. She’s part of the LWF Department of Theology & Studies I read her paper before I vanished from the conference for a while. She highlighted our response to “economic globalization” in her paper (For related papers check out the following : “Engaging Economic Globalization as a Communion” and “A Call to Participate in Transforming Economic Globalization.” and also “Reclaiming the Vocation of Government” ) I’m planning to interview at least two or three people for a response later.