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Saturday, June 07, 2008

interview with bill

After sending three questions to Bruce (below), I wrote Bill Teng to see if he'd be interested in taking a shot at them as well. Bill was kind enough to reply as well and his answers are below. Bill is one of four moderatorial candidates. The moderator is the highest elected position in the Presbyterian Church USA and the term of service is two years.

And why just these two candidates and not the other two? Well, 'cause it's my blog. If they feel left out and happen to read this and send me answers, I'll gladly post them as well!

Robert: Jesus said that we are the “light of the world” — what does that mean to you?

Bill: John’s gospel says Jesus is “the light of all people” (John 1:4-9, 8:12, 9:5) and, taking from what John says about John the Baptist, I think we would all fall in the same category that we ourselves are not the light, but we testify to the light (John 1:8). It’s obvious that if Jesus is the light then we cannot be the light also, however, we can reflect Jesus’ light onto a darkened world — much like the moon reflects the sunlight onto earth and is able to provide light for us at night. For us to be the “light of the world” then is to reflect the light of Jesus before others, “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Robert: What is your favorite thing and biggest challenge about being a father?

Bill: When I married Karen over 21 years ago, her two sons from a previous marriage were already 15 and 16 years of age, so I didn’t really have a chance to be their “father.” (However, I believe I’d had my fair share of “dealing with kids” by being the oldest of six boys growing up!)

Currently my younger stepson, Charles, has blessed us with two grandchildren: a boy (15), and a girl (10). Four years ago, when my grandson was eleven years old, he was doing poorly in school and was diagnosed with ADHD. Since both Charles and his wife worked full-time, they couldn’t really provide the attention that my grandson would need, so Karen and I agreed to be his guardians, moved him from Florida and enrolled him in school in Virginia where we live. Karen also resigned from her job and became my grandson's full-time tutor. By the end of the first semester, he got on the Honor Roll for the first time in his life, and remained there for the following year. He returned home to his parents after eighteen months and is still doing quite well!

The experience of having my grandson live with us was a positive one — we were able to teach, guide and counsel him on various issues and provide a safe and stable environment for him. The time and relationships that we all shared together is something that we will cherish for a lifetime.

I believe the one single greatest challenge for fathers these days is the element of time — as most fathers don’t spend enough quality time with their children. Also, fathers need to be mindful that they are their children’s role model, whether they realize it or not. And they will learn, follow and repeat what they observe regardless what they are told!

Robert: If you are not elected as moderator, what have you learned in standing for moderator that will impact your ministry as a local pastor?

Bill: I’ve yet to meet a past moderator candidate, minister or elder, who said they regretted the experience! So far for me, it has been a very positive, enriching and edifying experience — meeting Presbyterians in places that I didn’t even know existed, hearing for myself their joys and concerns for the church, and observing how they relate to one another. I’ve already been able to bring back to my own congregation some of the encouraging stories that I’ve heard, and other best models and practices that I hope to introduce and implement.

Also, I’m able to better help my congregation understand what it means to be connectional and to see ourselves as part of a national and global church. Elected or not, I know I’ve been faithful to God by responding to the call to stand for the office and that God will bless this endeavor!

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