Theological Frustration

Mike Todd is frustrated:

No on is talking about Israel and Lebanon. Come to think of it, no one is talking about Palestine.

No one is talking about Iraq.
No one is talking about Sudan.
No one is talking about HIV/AIDS.
No one is talking about Afghanistan.
No one is talking about global warming.
No one is talking about corporate greed.
No one is talking about the minimum wage.
No one is talking about corrupt politicians and regimes.
No one is talking about starvation and our overflowing garbage cans.
No one is talking about the millions (in their own countries) living below the poverty line.

No one is talking about what it means to be a follower of Christ in this environment, at this time.

Stephen Shields agrees. What is a Christian to do right now? I wish the answers were easier.

It reminds me of the line in Hotel Rwanda: "I think if people see this footage, they'll say, 'Oh God, that's horrible!" and then go on eating their dinners.' " It's so easy to be disturbed and then return to more pressing matters.

Maybe people aren't talking about Israel and Lebanon...but I hope they're praying at the very least. Your Kingdom come.

Good life, bad life

Some good and bad things happening...

Bad news: our roof started leaking last week and needs replacing. Drats. Just shingled it myself (with some help) 14 years ago, and it should be good for another ten years. I am not sure the shingles we bought are as durable as advertised. Good news: we hadn't started some of the other home renovation projects we had planned and might be able to afford this.

Bad news: Our car transmission is broken. Good news: They finally found the problem; we bought the extended warranty when we bought the car; we have a free rental (Pontiac G6) in the meantime.

Good news: This is my first full day of writing my thesis. Bad news: I only got to 80% of my target 10 pages per day.

Good news: I start writing again tomorrow, and all week long.

Police and clergy walkabout in north Etobicoke

Every Thursday evening, a group of pastors heads out with some police for a community walk. It's mostly to get to know people in the community, to show support for the police, and to build some goodwill. I went for the first time tonight.

We went to a park in the Dixon Road corridor, a high-density area with a huge Somali population. I've been at Richview eight years, and I've never been in this park once before, even though it's only two kilometers away. It was packed with people, including a lot of fairly small kids but not many parents. The centerpiece is a basketball court donated by Vince Carter when he was still a Raptor. You rarely see so many people out in a community park on a hot summer night in Toronto.

We were a bit of a sight - a couple of police in uniform, and pastors with clergy collars so we'd be recognizable. It's safe to say that the police guns and handcuffs got more attention than the pastors and their collars.

I was amazed by a number of things. The police we had with us were amazing. It's different for them to show up to play basketball with kids and to hang out, rather than just showing up to respond to a call.

It was also amazing to see how many kids the other pastors knew. It's easy to talk about community ministry, but some have been doing it for years, and it shows. I heard stories tonight. I realized how out of touch I am with a lot of stuff that's been happening. The only way to find out is to be out there.

Ministry sometimes involves just walking around and hanging out. That can lead to all kinds of other things, but that's where it starts.

Someone on the Resonate list said the other day that the best thing you can do is to just go out and talk to a homeless person. The same thing is true here. I learned more tonight about Dixon Road just walking and chatting than I'd learn in hours anywhere else. And I think I'll go back.

Long Journey Home discussion

Jonathan & Naomi Johnson, friends of mine here in Toronto, are starting a summer reading club:
Jonathan & Naomi Johnson are interested in hosting a summer-time reading club, to study LONG JOURNEY HOME. Together, we will forge our way through to thinking well – or at least better – on the Meaning of Life & the plethora of religions and religious views available to our neighbors, our co-workers, our young adult children, and their friends. It will be work, but, thanks to the impeccable work of thinker and communicator Os Guinness, the really hard stuff has already been done for us. Too Busy this Summer? So are we! That’s why we’ll plan minimal get-togethers (probably only 3 or so) packed with maximum quality and content. This will be a working study, but we can all plan to take away increased understanding of some of the core issues and problems in connecting with seekers, as well as increased ability to relate to them, intelligently, where they’re at. We’ll even develop our own thinking and communicating skills – together!
More information here (in PDF).