Towards a theology of wedding lists

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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.

Expectations, again

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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.

That's just the way it is

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.”

This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD

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I spent most of today helping to destroy a church. One of our church plants had run out of money, manpower and members, and so we made the obvious decision to close it down, end the contract on the building, revert all the alterations that had been made to it and to return it to the landlord. For some involved, I'm sure it was a sad day, but I have to admit that I took a perverse pleasure in it, laying into bookshelves and partitions with a ball-peen hammer. It's a great way to take out your frustrations. I wish I could call it creative destruction, but it wasn't, it was just destruction, pure and simple. I wish I could say that symbolically I was breaking down the building to set free the church, but no, really, I wasn't. I was just merrily swinging away, laying into pieces of wood that didn't really deserve it. And I loved it.