Friday, April 27, 2007

Messy, Quiet, & Able to Speak

OK - time to get back at it. Not one to post too often anyway, even I can’t believe I’m cracking what is nearing the two month mark of blog- silence.

Tending to wrestle for the sake of congruence between truth and praxis (and to do so often), I could easily stay in a place of contemplation and “sorting things out" quite a while longer. Whilst, in the midst of integrated living with work, family, service, learning, worship, contemplation, and other relationships, I remain drawn to the quiet and persist in a state that is a bit unsettled.

Much of the lure to contemplation springs from pastoral challenges within the community of believers amongst whom I cooperate as family and church. I don’t know who first applied the adjective messy as a descriptor to the body of Christ; nonetheless, reading the Apostle Paul the basis for doing so is as ancient as the earliest generations of those who comprise the ongoing thread of God’s creation called the church.

Here, take a quick peek. Even limiting your glance to Paul’s letter to the Philippians, you see it.
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. (Phil 2:19-23, NIV)
Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. (Phil 1: 12-18, NIV)
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. (Phil 2: 14-16, NIV)
Maybe it’s a sad commentary on me as a servant-leader but I take comfort in knowing the challenges of an under shepherd aren’t new. Nor, are they confined to the modern or post modern era.

Anyway, that’s enough for now. Many things have happened in the past two months. All good... some difficult... but all under the sovereignty and goodness of God. I am humbled by His sustenance and thankful to the core that He is in charge. Maybe, a post or two will follow soon? Either way, it’s good to be back.

Blessings and Peace- Thom

P.S. Please note the shepherd in the watercolor inset is assailing the wolf - not the sheep :)

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