Random Weekend Roundup

Preaching is a weird thing. We spent a lot of time praying Sunday in worship for hurricane victims, talking about aid, and praying for the Supreme Court and Justice Rehnquist’s family and his replacement. So, we didn’t have time for what I prepared. More and more, we’ve moved to sharing in worship-asking people what God is speaking to them through the Scriptures. We were looking at Colossians 1: 21-23. I decided to simply read one verse at a time, ask people’s impressions, ask questions, and share from what I had wrestled with during the week.

It used to be that this kind of “winging it” was easier for me than preparing everything ahead of time. But I found this very draining. It takes a lot of energy to really listen to what people are saying, to draw out what’s truly there in the bible, filter out what isn’t, etc. Doug Pagitt has just written a book called “Preaching Re-imagined”, which I need to read. From what others have blogged about advance copies, it’s about preaching moving into something much more interactive. That’s where I’ve been moving, too. It’s actually harder work. You’d think it would be easier, because others are carrying some of the speaking role. But it’s hard, important, tiring, necessary work.

It’s easier for me to say what preaching is not. It is not just about getting facts and theology right. It is not so that people will be impressed with the speaker. Somehow, it ought to become worship, a true encounter with God. And somehow, it ought to help us live more faithfully as followers of Jesus.

That’s the long way of saying I’m not posting what I prepared to say, and instead direct you to our church website for a listen, if you’re interested.

Today, my oldest daughter started middle school, my youngest started preschool, and Hayley switched to a new school. Lots of change. I’ve found myself thinking and praying for all of them often today. I told Aubrey as she was going to sleep last night that she would get to go to preschool after lunch. This morning, when I called home at 8:45 am, I heard her in the background asking Elaine if she could have her lunch! 🙂 She’s ready.

I’m almost finished with Mountains Beyond Mountains. When I do finish, I’ll post a full review; but I say without hesitation, you must read this book. It, along with a presentation I heard about child trafficking and the hurricane, are causing me to rethink our lifestyle and what we’re doing with our resources. American wealth as compared to the poverty of the world is not a new revelation to me; but God is doing new things in me about what it means. There’s never enough time, but I hope to blog about the book and my reactions and musing about what it means for me. You may (or may not) have already noticed the changes in the sidebar on the left…that’s my beginning steps toward changing how I live.

Last thing: I was talking with Hayley about the presentation on child slavery in Cambodia and Thailand, where young girls are sold to brothels because of the extreme poverty and starvation there. She has enough fears in life, so I was being gentle in how I discussed it, mainly focussing on the slavery aspect rather than the child and sex aspects.

“Why would people sell each other? I thought that was illegal,” she asked.

“It is,” I said. “But people are absolutely desperate. They have nothing to eat and no way to work. They have no money. It’s horrible. So I went to this presentation, where people who love Jesus are trying to figure out what to do. The United States is hugely wealthy in comparison-how can we help?”

“Why do we have more money?” she asked.

“Well…it’s complicated. I don’t know. We’ve invented good things. Our government has made it possible for us to gain a lot. We use about 25% of the world’s resources, but we only have about 6% of the world’s population.”

She was silent for awhile. “But that’s not fair.”

Nope. It is what it is. What would Jesus have us do about it?

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One thought on “Random Weekend Roundup

  1. Gregg, you probably don’t remember when, at the beginning of the war, our young friend Joseph asked something to the effect of “how does your faith handle all this?” The heartbreak of war, natural disasters beyond comprehension, child slavery around the world, homelessness here at home, and meth babies in my neighborhood – these things are simply overwhelming even though, as I told Joseph that day, I really believe that God still holds this ailing world in his capable hands. His heart breaks with ours. That our hearts are breaking in the first place is a good sign of his life within us.I alternate between being proud of living out God’s love by giving voice to those on society’s margins and sticking my head in the sand and saying, “I don’t want to know any more.” Right or wrong, for me it starts at home with the small things. It starts in the community where I have to look people in the eye every day. I feel called to share what I have with those who are within my reach. Am I good at it? No. I have too much stuff and not enough left over at the end of the month with all kinds of pathetic excuses. I selfishly want to know that I am making a difference. Even though I do it, sending money to an agency doesn’t feel like I’ve done anything. I haven’t left my cozy home. I’ll never know for sure if I comforted another human being. Am I wrong to presume that listening of a cross-eyed old woman as she laments over her children living so far away and how the people of her church have forgotten their promise to tend her yard is a kinder act of charity than sending money to strangers? I could be but she is a widow and, as far as society is concerned, she’s orphaned too after all. Living on the fringe, she comes to the senior center once a week for a little human contact. I love her more, I think, because otherwise she is so desperately sad and alone.I could be wrong. I might need to join someone else’s cause but… Do we all need to care about the same things, or are we all called to care about different things so all things are cared for?

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