On the blog...

As my blogging has slowed for the summer, it's interesting to see what people are reading who find there way to my blog. Here's a sampling of what's being read:

 

"Gift of limitation"

Within North American Christianity, successful leaders are often described in certain terms: confident, independant, charismatic, driven, etc...

It's similar in generalizing about successful churches: growth, sustainability, clarity, virbrance leadership, etc...

None of these characteristics are bad or incongruent with faithful Christianity. Unless they become an end unto themselves. In the drive for success, Christians can forget and neglect the role of perceived weakness - failure even - as an accepted part of faithfulness. Such a concept can seem counterintuitive in our North American leadership context, but it's essential.

In the context of their discussion on the importance of a physical place for the church to inhabit, the authors of The New Parish summarize the role of accepting limitation in the context of a local neighbourhood (parish), a thought I think applies to our faith in general as well:

"God has given you the gift of limitation and responsibility. Limitations are a pointing to your need of the other, while responsibility reveals the other's need of you. What the phyiscal body is to a human person, the parish is to the body of Christ. The limitation is glorious. It is God's gift of enabling you to see and live into your need for others."

Praxis - The Video

Here`s a promotional video for Praxis - spread the word!!!

"Don't be afraid"

Some wisdom and good news for you and for our world...

Do you know what the most frequent command in the Bible turns out to be? What instruction, what order, is given, again and again, by God, by angels, by Jesus, by prophets and apostles? What do you think - 'Be good'? 'Be holy, for I am holy'? Or, negatively, 'Don't sin'? 'Don't be immoral'? No. The most frequent command in the Bible is: 'Don't be afraid.' Don't be afraid. Fear not. Don't be afraid. 

The irony of this surprising command is that, though it's what we all really want to hear, we have as much difficulty, if not more, in obeying this command as any other. We all cherish fear so closely that we find we can't shed it even when we're told to do so...Every one of us has something on her or his mind about which we badly need a voice to say: 'Don't be afraid. it's going to be all right.' As the Lord said to Lady Julian: 'All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.' Let's make no mistake about it: until you learn to live without fear you won't find it easy to follow Jesus.*

From "The God Who Raises the Dead" in Following Jesus by N.T. Wright. 

*This quote comes from an advance proof of the book`s updated edition and may not be exactly as published.


A prayer for the church on Canada Day

I've reflected a few times on my ambivalence as a Christian to gleefully endorse my country around patriotic holidays (see here and here). I read a prayer this week that aligns with much of what I think the church should be focused on when it comes to faith and nationalism:

God of Reconciling Love,

We thank you for your reconciling mission, which is always inviting us to live in our mutual need of one another even before we recognize it. Teach us to love and to receive one another as Christ receives us.

Amen.