I'm (thoroughly enjoying) writing an IT strategy for a large church, and one of the things I want to get across is the benefits of openness with information, whether that means blogging, Twitter, engaging in discussions and forums about church teaching. This is an idea that the leadership are apparently unhappy about, since they want to keep fairly tight hold on authority for teaching and doctrine and what gets said in the name of the church, and if people start questioning what the pastor says in his sermons then where will we be. (In other words, all that unpleasantness in 1517 didn't change a bloody thing.)
So Gervase asked me, by email, what I thought the theological implications of having a wedding list was; what message I was sending by selling out to the glitzy commercialism of big name stores and publishing a list of the material possessions that we crave, or something. I don't think he was being quite as accusatory as that, but I can't really tell.
I'm still reflecting on my experience working in a Japanese church. I've written before about the sense of expectations I've felt put on by myself, and by my church in the UK (or at least my perception of what they expect) but I didn't really think before about the expectations of my local congregation, the church I was working for. Perhaps at the time I was too close to the action.
I had a debrief with the UK Director last week where we looked back over the two years of work in Japan. We talked about a few areas of working with the Japanese church, and some areas where I consider the Christian culture in Japan to be somewhat Pharisaical. And then John said something rather like “At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether you agree with them theologically or not, that's the situation and you have to deal with it.”
So with the news that Geert Wilders has been denied entry to the UK, and the passage of time, it's time to tell you about an email I got a month or so ago, asking me if I'd help to translate “Fitna” into Japanese.
I really don't know how people can go out to bat for the inerrancy of Scripture when there's a horkin' great big Epimenides paradox in the middle of it.
I’m looking through “Mentoring Like Barnabas”, by Mitsuo Fukuda, which I think is something that every missionary to Japan should read. Well, that’s sort of why I’m translating it. Anyway, I came up with this nugget: Read more about The temptation to show off
I’ve now been back in the UK almost three weeks, and as my last post implied, have been struggling a bit to define myself. Now things are starting to become a bit clearer. I’m as busy as I was in Japan, but I’m far, far less stressed out: Read more about All the work, none of the responsibility
OK, I've just finished one of my three sermons for this Christmas - it's called, and I kid you not, “It's A Very Liberationist Christmas, Charlie Brown” - and so I'm settling in for a good rant. This one's for all of you, evangelicals and liberals alike.
I'm trying to prepare a bunch of Christmas messages at the moment, and have spent a long time working through Luke 2. The more I dig into it, the more I realise how political it all is. Not just Luke 2 but Matthew 2 as well.