Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tonight we WRITE!

I'm stepping through the door tonight - I have an 8-10pg paper due tomorrow for my "Kingdom of God" class. When I had it in, I'll be officially done with the class. So in that sense, I'm stepping through a door in that class. But I'm also stepping through a door in what I'm doing. I'm going to write a paper that will draw heavily from what I've done in other classes, one in particular. I am going to seek to make a conection between the Kingdom of God and the Church.

Now, that's not all that profound. I've got John Fuellenbach and Howard A. Snyder to help me out with that. Both of whom we read for this class, particularly for our group presentation on Kingdom ethics last week. But, in reading them both, Fuellenbach spelling out the 3-fold Mission of the Church from Vatican II and Snyder's 5 points of Kingdom Consciousness, I believe there is one glaring omission. And here's where I'm going to step through the door. I'm going to contend that Lesslie Newbigin best explains this, particularly in his book 'Foolishness to the Greeks' What he does is emphasize the Church as a Sent Community. This isn't new, in fact I'm going to draw the connection from Luke 9:1-2 - Jesus CALLED the twelve together and GAVE them power over demons and SENT them out to PROCLAIM the Kingdom of God and to HEAL.

That's a paraphrase of course, but the key ingredients are there. The Church's (or called community's) relation to the Kingdom of God here is fairly well articulated. They are empowered and SENT to proclaim the Kingdom and then to heal and therefore live out the Kingdom. It's this aspect of being sent that is somewhat lacking in these other discussions. Now, would they disagree? I don't think so. But they don't say it so explicitly. And I think, especially today, it's important to do so. And it's important to articulate it in a good way. That's what I'm going to try to do with this paper.

So, stepping through this door is a way of integrating some stuff I've already done/read (Newbigin) with something I'm doing now. I'm hoping this will be good because when I leave here, integrating what I've learned before with what I'm doing now will be particularly pertinent. So, I'm off to write this paper. But I may need a short snooze first...

Monday, December 11, 2006

"Here Future, future, future..."

Yes, that's me. Yes, my eyes look like that when I read, and it doesn't even have to be Barth. It's really just when I've got too much to do & read tired - of course I always end up falling asleep reading, but whatever. (Don't get me wrong, I love reading this stuff, it's just not always easy. Heck, I'm taking an Independant Study next semester on Barth's doctrine of Vocation - IV.3.2). I spent a couple weeks away from the books and just got back into stuff last week. It felt good, but the stress was lurking at my door, waiting to devour me - it continues that way. Simply having too much to do in too many different realms of my life. So I keep it at bay by thinking of the future, what we've got going on next - or hope to. One of those things is Spring Semester.

I always fight with myself to keep from just dropping whatever I'm doing to focus on the next new, shiny thing. Spring Semester is close enough. I'm hoping to have most/all of my classes on Thursday, leaving Tuesday free to be at Trenton Psych (& Wed Afternoon) and M,W,F to stay home and take care of Brennan, thereby not needing a "babysitter" 'cept for Daycare Tues & Thur & our friends for a couple hours Wed afternoon before Bridgette gets home. Tonight is registration, online, big coup for Princeton Seminary. 9pm... I'll be cramming onto a server that will inevitably crash, to be one of 25 students to get into a limited enrollment Pastoral Care class (Marriage, Family &...) Hope it works out, I'm nearly screwed if not.

But there's this other class, another Limited Enrollment, this time by Application. It's a Youth Ministry class, "Readings in Theology and Youth Ministry" - I've never "applied" for a class before. It's interesting. But it got me to thinking, crystalizing might be too strong of a word, but at least putting down some ideas I've been thinking about in the past - all for the application. One of the quetsions was - "If you taught a seminar at Youth Specialites - what would it be?" This is what I wrote:

I would want to teach a seminar entitled “The Mission of the Church.” I think in many ways the Church has lost the sense of mission that pervades the Scriptures, the idea of being elected to serve, chosen to bless others. I would really want to discuss how to do ministry, youth ministry but really all church ministry, outside the box of the building, outside of the Sunday morning service, up on the hill. Instead of focusing on doing “service projects” as if they are an addendum to what the church “really” does, these instead being the very heart of what the church is called to do. One of the best experiences I had in Youth Ministry was the final Fall Retreat I ran where after talking about being “in not of the world” we lived this out by sending our students out to the neighbours (we were staying in a condo complex in Palm Springs) to offer their help in any way they could. One woman was so thankful because she had to get her furniture back in after major renovations and wasn’t sure how she would do it without our offer of help. I think more youth leaders and pastors in general need to see ministry with an “off the hill” mentality that sees our call to serve as essential and not peripheral and that’s what I’m passionate about and what I’d want to teach.

I don't know if this will help me get in or not - but I figure it's better to be honest. In either event, I'm sitting here, on my couch, just begging for the future to get here, my present is a little too stressful right now...