July Update from Brother Maynard

calendar-diary.jpg I know, it’s overdue. Long overdue. This blog seems to have disintegrated into one of those that has an irregular stream of posts saying, “Sorry I haven’t posted more, but I will soon, I promise.” But I don’t believe in those posts – and maybe I don’t really believe in apologies for not blogging. Sorry to disappoint you. ;^)

Blessing of Hands

aged-praying-hands.jpg The other evening, we did a hand-blessing ceremony in our home fellowship, let by one of the women in our group.

For missional communities, it is good to be reminded of our hands. Not that they require special sanctioned programs for “ministry opportunities,” but to be reminded that they are always in the process of doing things, of touching others. This is the point of being intentionally missional… or perhaps it might be better put, mindfully missional, valuing the contacts in our everyday lives.

Blessed be the work of your hands — Holy God.
You hold us in your hands.

Grappling with the Story Arc of Scripture

genesis-scroll.jpg Len Hjalmarson discusses biblical literacy, questioning whether the level attained even by pastors and leaders is typically adequate to interpret the theological significance of the text. He questions this not to disparage the pastors and leaders in our churches or to bemoan some belief that the biblical text is just too difficult for any but the experts to properly handle, but simply to highlight a particular issue before the biblical interpreter. Understanding the issue at hand, one may be better able to address it — or to at least avoid the worst effects of its impact. I haven’t asked Len if this is precisely his approach, but perhaps he’ll step in and clarify if necessary. ;^) He writes,

Sacred Gallery

sand-mandala.jpg While chatting with Robbymac last week, he mentioned to me that I haven’t blogged anything about our little missionalesque community in a while. Hmm. Hadn’t realized that, but perhaps it’s apropos to mention today. For the past couple of months we’ve been talking with the kids about art and teaching them about a few different forms of art. We’ve done “field trips” to the art gallery and to a recording studio, and we’ve had a painter come and visit. We’ve taught them a few different forms of art and talked about expressing ourselves through art. And they have an assignment: they each have to create two original pieces of artwork to show, and one of them has to be an art form they haven’t done before.

The Non-Traditional Christmas Catalogue

eatons1904xmascat.jpg I remember well the days of my youth when the Christmas catalogues would arrive from Sears, Eaton’s, and The Bay. Pouring over those catalogues and circling our most-desired items was a cherished tradition during the run-up to Christmas, when visions of cars and trucks and G.I. Joe and helicopters and spaceships and chocolate and “Christmas oranges” would dance through our heads before a background of tinsel and baubles and bubble-lights hung from a sparkly tree. And in case anyone’s wondering, the 1904 catalogue was a bit before my time ;^) …the ones I recall were much glossier than this.

Just Clearing my Head

refugeecamp-heartcity.jpg I was going to post this earlier this morning, but none of it had happened yet. This morning I was groggy-headed and bleary-eyed staring at my computer monitor. I had nothing to say and was too tired to say it… don’t know why, really. so I had a nap and then went out with my wife to do “errands”. You know those miscellaneous days when you both have odds and ends to get done?

  1. Returned library books and picked up one that was on hold; the waiting list was two months.
  2. Bought dog food.
  3. Washed the car.
  4. Listened to the news on the radio, with the lead story being about gas prices… which were going up 15¢/litre overnight on fears of Hurricane Ike. We found a station that hadn’t put their prices up yet, and after using our coupon, we filled up for 15-19¢ less than the going rate. The guy on the radio was giving away jerry-cans of gas.

A Story, a Craft, and a Cookie

preschool.jpg I was poking around some old draft posts and found this one — I probably wrote it at least two years ago.

I’m on record belittling certain forms of children’s ministry, the forms which are entertainment-based. The ones which focus on keeping the kids busy and out of their parents’ hair while they have their sermon. The ones which are more concerned with the kids having a program than with the kids having spiritual formation. I summed up it up by saying these were only concerned with the kids getting a story, a craft, and a cookie.

You have to admit the formula is familiar. These three elements are of course the basic arsenal of the children’s ministry worker. And, I must grudgingly admit, they’re not inherently wrong.

A Conversation with Frank Viola, Part III

pagan-xnity-banner.jpg Today we wrap up “Pagan Week” which was held over from last week for the extended conversation I’ve been having with Frank Viola, talking about Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices and many of the subjects it raises. This all follows my own review of the book which ran all of last week. If you’re just tuning in you might want to catch up on part one and part two of the interview; if you’ve been following along, you’ll recall that we’re all sitting around a table in your favorite independent local coffee shop, and have just poured coffee refills as we talked about discerning whether a practice’s origins were good, bad, neutral, or redeemable. As before, Frank and I will converse for a bit an then you’ll get your comments in — as this is the wrapup, feel free to bring up anything we’ve hit in the conversation or in my review so far… I can’t drink too many of those carmel lattes in one sitting, but I’m always happy to hang around and pour another cup of medium roast fair trade coffee. So, back to the conversation.