Random Thoughts before another Shandy?

I confess the more I read some excellent blogs and reflections the more I feel inadequate. I think being an encourager is so much more less pressure than being an expert.

someone asked me why I like to do or coordinate projects like Nails and Thorns 2007 (more meditations already posted up). Maybe it’s because though I found the study of theology very rewarding, and reflecting on ministry and mission constantly moving me into new territory in terms of action, I find the place of prayer and meditation with the Bible open before me, and my prayer journal at my side (occasionally with help from others in the form of notes like these Lent meditations) a “sanctuary” crucial to keep me anchored in my relationship with God.

Tried to get some rest today. It’s been pretty stressful. A lot of unfinished tasks ahead. Alluding to a Chinese saying, I’m not a person with three heads and six hands.

More and more, I find face to face encounters a must. Reading someone behind a computer screen is ok to a certain extent – but not useful to read the motivations of another (unless it’s clearly stated). Guessing tends to send us off tangents which might hinder progress in understanding. Perhaps this is where a posture of risk and trust is a needed antidote to a tendency to be suspicious. Maybe it’s because we live in a world where trust is so fragile and we are in an environment which breathes more fear into our psyche.

how do we react perhaps reflects (1) The way we view our present because of our past, or (2) The way we view our future either due to our perceived fears or a vision for future change. I’m sure it’s not just 2 factors, but this is the two areas occupying our mind.

someone asked me about “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” in a class last Sunday. I tried to approach the question in the best way i think I could considering where the person asking is coming from as well as my own back ground. I thought about that a lot after the class because, looking back my experiences, and lessons and ways I’ve interpreted my experience and the way I read the various Biblical texts has changed (or at least become more nuanced). And then at the same time, even while I was trying to teach about the Holy Spirit (with the help of the Apostle’s Creed, Luther, and more) my mind was also thinking about how we relate to the Holy Spirit into the future as a Christian and the church.

Gone were the need for me to dwell on the controversies of the past (even though during the short time we did discuss a little on how people view their experience of the Holy Spirit), and there was also a conscious choice not to be closed to the work of the Spirit in the future. Of course, during this process, I think it was important not just to have a basic grasp of church history, but going back to the relevant biblical texts (which often are used to justify various positions are needed). Of course, one will arrive at least one way of interpreting the texts or even a number of ways where we can say it’s a faithful reading. And yet, there are experiences or opinions we have that we cannot deny but perhaps need a little bit longer to process them. What I valued especially for our time together last Sunday, is the need to emphasize we do it together (and not as isolated individuals detached from community – or to use the biblical term which I like – “the body of Christ).

Elysia prayed with me a short prayer before we ate dinner tonight. That was a precious moment. Then she bowed her head for another short time of prayer with my mom before Mom started her dinner. And later, she was the one also who was chasing me to bring her home. How often, the children lead us … not in childishness but in childlike reminders …

With that I’ll skip the Shandy … and go for some warm water. Some contemplation. And reading before I sleep.

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