Friday, October 27, 2006

Henri... again

To some who read this blog; and if you do, wow, thanks, I've been struggling to post recently; here is something I found from my daily email from Henri Nouwen. I know I have posted a number of things from him before, but truth is, I find his writing very challenging and easy to connect with. Perhaps I should actually get around to reading one of his books.


Forgiving the Church

When we have been wounded by the Church, our temptation is to reject it. But when we reject the Church it becomes very hard for us to keep in touch with the living Christ. When we say, "I love Jesus, but I hate the Church," we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the Church seldom asks us for forgiveness, at least not officially. But the Church as an often fallible human organization needs our forgiveness, while the Church as the living Christ among us continues to offer us forgiveness.

It is important to think about the Church not as "over there" but as a community of struggling, weak people of whom we are part and in whom we meet our Lord and Redeemer.


Just for clarity's sake, I'm not feeling wounded by the church, but I, like many others, know a few people who have been hurt by the church and struggle with what to tell them. I believe in the church (a good thing for a pastor to do). I believe that it is the one thing we can be involved in that will have an eternal significance. The church is not perfect, clearly, it needs to be better. We need to be open about what we do that hurts ourself. Did that make sense? If the church is wounding it's own, then we must figure out how to stop that.

If it's the church's job to tell the world about the gospel, and we spend time wounding ourselves, it means that's less time, resources and energy being put into our true task.

Like this blog says, ramblings and thoughts from Doug.

Friday, October 13, 2006

My ramblings, after a forward

As some of you know I receive a number of newsletters from some “thinker” types. It helps push my own thinking beyond what I see. I got this one from John Piper’s ministry this week. I particularly like the quotes he takes from Sam Harris and Diane Setterfield. (At this point it might help you to read the article, or at least the indented quotes from those authors)

I wonder how many people in our community feel the way Sam Harris does? I wonder how many people don’t want to come to church because they see it and while they want to know God they don’t want to know us? I know that’s a harsh question, but what if that were true?

How many people feel like they are “at midnight, in the dark, when the wind is roaring like a bear in the chimney, when the lightning strikes shadows on the bedroom wall and the rain taps at the window with her long fingernails” and are looking for someone to be with them, to love them, to give them a hug, to let them be themselves warts and all. I know that I’m in serious danger of being overly fluffy and generalizing people and the church, but I wonder…

When it comes to the church what do we pray for? If I can make a request as I blog I make this it:

Please pray. Please care for your spiritual life, pray, study, struggle. I think we need to be prepared for some tougher sailing ahead. God has been good to us. We are blessed. Our enemy will not take this lying down. We must press on. We must encourage people, ourselves to do the work that God has put before us. We have a community before us, with many watching, what we will do with the blessings God has given to us. There is always tension within the ranks. An apprehension of what will come. We must continue to break down walls, we must forge a lasting legacy of hope and grace.

Pray for me, for focus, for strength, discernment, wisdom and a strong sense of the presence of God. Pray that all of us would win the battle of temptation that each of us faces daily.

That’s enough “soapboxing” for me today. Thank you for your work to see God’s kingdom advanced.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stuff I should have known about already...

Check THIS out!!

Wow, it is a cool idea. Check it out.
I really should have heard of this before, considering the amount of time I've spent in front of a computer screen.