Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Spending our first Christmas Eve service with our new church family here in Vancouver, we had a marvelous time of food, joy and thanksgiving. During our service, we showed this beautiful video:

Monday, December 23, 2013

Restaurant Owner Tim Harris

Tanya and I both fought tears when we watched this piece about Tim Harris who is a restaurant owner, though having Down's Sydrome. I continue to grow into the deep conviction that "ordinary work" matters deeply to the work of God in the world. As Tim says of his work, "we are a gift to the world." Yes, Tim, you are right. I praise God for you. 

"Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!" -Psalm 90:17  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian

Joining a new church community, I'm getting acquainted with new resources and favorite books that serve as backbones to the community of Grace Vancouver Church. Bolsinger's book It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian: How the Community Transforms Lives is one such book.

Here is an excerpt from Bolsinger:

"The early church understood and taught that to be baptized as a Christian meant to undergo an 'extraordinary thoroughgoing resocilaization' so that the community of believers would become virtually the primary group for its members supplanting all other loyalties.' Through this relational restructuring of the Spirit, the believer progresses in depth of faith (relationship to God) and in transformation into the likeness of God (understood in relational terms and expressed in relationships with other believers- see 2 Cor. 3:17-18; John 13:14-15). Indeed, as the 'fruit of the Spirit' (Gal 5:22-26) attests, relational maturity is virtually indistinguishable from spiritual maturity, and the spirituality of a community is defined by the quality of the relationships formed" (pp. 75-6).

Monday, December 9, 2013

On Writing Well

So I have not been blogging much as of late as the transition to Vancouver has been quite an adjustment. However, in preparing for my dissertation writing course this January in St. Louis at Covenant Theological Seminary, I've been going through Zinssser's classic book On Writing Well. It may sound like "boring reading," but actually I have found much of it to be helpful and enlivening. Let me share a small excerpt that talks about the concepts of "quest, intention, character and values":

"The quest is the oldest themes in storytelling, an act of faith we never get tired of hearing about. Looking back, I notice that many students in my class, assigned to think about a place that was important to them, used the assignment to go on a quest for something deeper than the place itself: a meaning, an idea, some sliver of the past. The result was that the class always had a warm dynamic for a group of strangers. (Some classes even held reunions.) Every quest that a student embarked on found an echo in some search or yearning of our own. Moral: any time you can tell a story in the form of a quest or a pilgrimage you’ll be ahead of the game. Readers bearing their own associations will do some of your work for you.

Intention is what we wish to accomplish with our writing. Call it the writer’s soul. We can write to affirm and to celebrate, or we can write to debunk and to destroy; the choice is ours. Destruction has long been a journalistic mode, rewarding the snoop and the hatchet man (or woman) and the invader of privacy. But nobody can make us write what we don’t want to write. We get to keep intention. Nonfiction writers often forget that they are not required to acquiesce in tawdry work, to carry the trash for magazine editors who have an agenda of their own- to sell a commercial product.

Writing is related to character. If your values are sound, your writing will be sound. It all begins with intention. Figure out what you want to do and how you want to do it, and work your way  with humanity and integrity to the completed article. Then you’ll have something to sell.” (pp. 259-60)