I wrote this post on the plane to a conference a few months ago and noticed it on my USB key, so I thought I would post it.
A good friend gently reminded me that they felt I had been becoming increasingly cynical and abrupt in my comments and in my speech. For the longest time I had accepted that perhaps my ‘brashness’ as some might call was a result of the way God made me. It has come to my attention through conversation and the very timely reading of “The Way of the Heart” that perhaps this is not the case.
While there is meritt in the argument that we have been created in the image of God (Gen 1:27) and that some people’s personality (emphasis on “personality” being distinct and different from character) reflect God in different ways (for example the merciful and the just) this has long been my excuse in seeing the world as black and white with very little grey in it.
I have understood literature such as “Wild at Heart” to justify this kind of character. While this type of literature has been helpfull to some degree, I have fallen into using it as an excuse for my behavior.
When I read in 1 Cor 13, a passage gravely misquoted in the context of marriage, it states that Love perservers through all circumstances. This has come to light when reflecting on my words, and for the most part I realize that squandering speech on meaningless things that will all one day “come to pass” as my father would say, has been prominent not only in my life but in our culture as well.
There are things, many things that are better left unsaid. “Fire of the soul” has been explained to me well as in Nouwen’s book “The Way of the Heart”, which I will at this point encourage you to read, it is very very accessible and a short read, though quite profound in its brevity. I have not realized that too many words has allowed for some of the ‘fire of the soul’ to escape. And things that ought to have been left in Communion with God, have escaped and lost their value and conversation. I have invaded the own privacy of my soul in a sense.
Perhaps more profound monastic spiritual disciplines should be a focal point in these next years, Solitutde, Silence and Prayer as covered by Nouwen.
Reflections on Reading
Upon reflecting on some of the reading I have been doing for my MTN courses, I read a chapter in the ‘Great Giveaway’ on preaching the word, and was struck by the paradigms of thought with regards to expository preaching and narrative preaching as outlined in the chapter.
The Middle Ground
While there seem to be both positive and negatives in both styles of preaching, Fitch lays down some guidlines for allowing the community of believers to work out the interpretations of scripture as a congregation. This idea combined with either narrative or expository preaching allows for the congregations to work out the interpretation of the scripture in their context as a whole. I would love for the oppurtunity to practice these disciplines. Currently in our church we do look at the interpretations of the scripture during our ‘small group’ times.
On a more personal level I was convicted. It was made very obvious to me that I often treat scripture like a consumable. I feel lost without sermon outline, even some times offended and hopeless. A good friend pointed this out to me during a rather lively and terse conversation about preaching. While I think there is wonderful merit in the discipline of thought in combination with allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart as an individual, I have often discounted the times of community as less important to my needs (another symptom of my consumerism).
I am hopefully that indeed where there are scientific and contextual shortcomings of narrative preaching that the Spirit of God can narrate the text. He is capable of such wonderful things, making the scriptures applicable to our lives but not necessarily formative to our agendas. So many times in my life I have been made aware that God has re-interpreted for me in my mind the scriptures as they apply to his agenda and not mine!
What can we do to allow more of the Holy Spirit in the Church? How do these concepts manifest themselves in our times of ‘Bible Study’. How do we let the Spirit lead?
So I was encouraged by a friend, to pick up blogging again. Even though in much of my peer group I am defiantly not the most well articulated person. I will do my best to share my reflections as I see fit.
I will have to learn with regards to the MTN journey. This journey in particular has been hard for me. For the majority of my life I have been rather safe in what I have embarked on. Most of my disciplinary studies have been in the computer related field, hence I feel this sense of inadequacy when I try new things. This is brought on by myself and the intimidation of people that know far far more than I with regards to a different discpline. So it is a challenge for me, a challenge to learn and to love and to experience another aspect of life, God gives us these opportunities and I want to make the best of them, even at the expense of insecurity.
I will also be blogging about technical related things, those things at work as well as the questions that my friends commonly ask me about. I hope to be disciplined as well in this and as a result share some of my knowledge and experiences that I think will benefit the readers. Although at this point I have a very small reader base :D.
An update… de-cluttering, reflections on Albania and the aspiration of a de-categorized wholistic life.
It has been a while and quite frankly I have been a little bit taken back by how many people read this thing 🙂 One of my friends, bless his heart. Didnt see any postings since we got back and called just to make sure everything was ok. (I really appreciated the sentiment). So perhaps I will make a few other posts and continue on in this endeavor.
Pictures to come, I know its been a while coming but I will post them to my copper mine gallery. Stay tuned.
There have been some interesting articles I have been reading in the way of de-cluttering my life a bit. Interestingly enough they come from a website called ‘zenhabits.net’ and while I don’t subscribe to any part of the idea that this stuff can help me spiritually. They definatly have some good articles on de-cluttering work environments, home and email 🙂 Probably the three things that annoy me most about my life. I have also been started reading a book called ‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen. To help me with getting a little more organized. You see I would like to squeeze more out of my time so that I can have good sabbath.
For those of you who want tools for doing all your work online there is this. But I dont really recommend that, there are privacy issues as well as the lack of support when trying to move off of these tools when the time comes. In addition to these issues there is no guarantee of backup. You can back your own data up. You know you will have a copy yourself. If Google looses some of your email (which does happen). Then you have no way of retrieving it etc…
On Albania: There are some questions that CraiG posed to me via email. I would like to take the time to answer these in more detail because during this trip God opened my eyes to some of the struggles that I had engaged in with regards to gifting and ministry. I will write on these later.
I was reflecting the will of God and discernment these past days, it seems as though some of us seem to want to sway our friends this way or that with regards to marriage, or ministry to name a few things. ( I am guilty as charged. – sorry Kamil and Jay)
There seems to be a tension between deciphering God’s will vs the will of your friends and loved ones. Pertaining directly to Missions work it has been said that a missionary should be able to point back to a specific time where God called them to the mission field, not their friends, churchmates, loved ones etc…
The other side of the coin points to the fact that God can and does speak through the people that know Him and as well the people that love us (God has spoken through me using non-believers too). If God is incarnate in our midst via believers in particular, how does one discern his will verses man’s ?
We have finished our week with the kids in sauk, we had much fun. Learned a whole lot about Albanian culture based on our interaction with the Youth. The experienced as opened my eyes in the areas of social and economic development and given a context as to why things are the way they are here.
I havent quite caught on to the language as much as I had liked to but I hope that “His way” will facilitate that in the future.
Im including a quick photo and will update this post in a few days. My written journal is not with me at this point.
The team has made it to Albania in good shape. We have thus far been playing with Kids and sweating alot, personally I have enjoyed playing soccer as well as being in fellowship with everyone here. Oh and teasing Rebecca is also quite fun.
Shout-outs to the world from the team:
Dave – Can’t find any barber shop, havent been able to shave yet and looking a little scruffy.
Jason – Jason is an Albanian Super hero with a pink cape (the ant slayer)
Jen J – (grins), convulsions and disperate burping
Rebecca – Am I going to survive Tobasco?
Kathi – is sleeping.
Jen – Albania is beatifull, hot and filled with lovely people.
Rahim – My new nickname is ‘Tobasco’.
Jennifer and I were able to leave on the same flight that Dave Durley had taken to Heathrow, Salim graciously allowed us his place until tommorow when we leave for Tirana.
We were wandering around ‘HighGate’. For a day, it was better than staying at home trying to fight with why we hadn’t gotten anywhere.
Things are well, the last time we texted Jay he was with Jen J and Kathi at Heathrow awaiting their flight to Athens (long long story).
We have been trying so desperatly to beat the Jet lag, it is 6:45pm and we havent been to sleep for like 30 hours but we are fading, Jennifer is already sleeping 🙂
Thanks for all your prayers.
Jennifer and Rahim
Well because of weather in England all the flights were delayed and that means that we didn’t catch our flight because we couldnt make our connecting flight. Apparently they always over-book flights to Tirana so we might be in town for a few more days, Jen, Jay and Kathi are scheduled tommorow and Jennifer and I are scheduled to leave Sunday.
We are tired of waiting at the airport and back home, hopefully we can convince BA to let us fly with Jen and Jay and Kathi Tommorow.
This is first Post, Jennifer and I will be posting pics and other thoughts here over the next few weeks. Stay tuned, we leave tommorow. It might be a little hard as I will not have a computer so when I can borrow one I will definatly do what I can to upload photos.
You may also want to see our photo gallery at https://web.hyboria.net/~rkvirani/coppermine/