What may be more common in our experience is what I would describe as “spiritual opposition.” Scripture points to one called the Accuser or Adversary, or Satan, as being like a lion prowling and waiting to devour. Satan is called the prince of the power of this world and actively works against God’s purposes. In many ways, Pharaoh reminds me of Satan, viewing himself as the king of this realm and actively opposed to God’s intrusion into it. Just as Satan is known to accuse believers falsely, Pharaoh accuses the Israelites of being lazy rather than faithful in wanting the time away to worship the Lord.
In this story, I think Pharaoh’s opposition most closely aligns with the spiritual opposition of Satan, but I want to mention one other spiritual obstacle that we also commonly face. That is ourselves. When we view ourselves as little kings and queens of our own realm, and come to see God’s Word or Will as inconvenient or contrary to our own plans, we set ourselves up to be Pharaoh, standing against God’s purpose in our life. It is entirely possible to be our own Pharaoh and our own worst enemy.
If you are new to this blog....
Monday, February 28, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
If you are wondering, MGB what? The Middle Governing Bodies Commission is a group established by the 2010 General Assembly to study, evaluate, recommend, and even enact changes to the structure and purpose of our Presbyterian structure of presbyteries, synods, etc... This is a subject in which I am quite interested. I wrote about one such re-visioning of the presbytery in a post entitled "Searchlight (Missional) Presbytery?"
In "From the MGB Comm Observation Deck #3" - commission chair, Tod Bolsinger, writes the following:
Second, do we agree that the congregation IS the basic form of mission, and thereby the basic form of church? Do we agree that the congregation in its particular contexts is the foundational and primary place where the MISSION of GOD engages the need of the world? The congregation (and not the denomination nor the individual) is the foundational, first line engagement of God to the world.I commented on Tod's blog post and wrote the following... would be interested in feedback or pushback from any readers of my blog.
So I'm tracking with what you have in this post, but find myself wanting a little more nuance on congregations being the basic unit of mission, without better describing the role of the individual. I agree that it is more inaccurate to say that either individual or higher governing body is the basic unit, but would like to see more integration of how the individual is called in and with the community.
I'll also give this more thought (as it's new to me) - but am thinking practically in terms of my own congregation. I think what I'm looking for is a recognition that each member is called to ministry and mission in the world, not disconnected from our local congregation, but as expressions of it. Even as a small congregation, we don't move in the world in a 200-person clump, but in ones and twos (and sometimes more)... perhaps the Pauline metaphor of the body would be helpful. Sometimes there is work that only a hand can do (don't want to try gardening with one's feet)... but the hand doesn't (or should not try to) operate in discontinuity from the body.
All that is to say that I'd look for a more precise way of saying "the basic unit of mission is the congregation"...
Maybe (and just thinking out loud here):
The basic unit of mission is the individual Christian, participating in and with the congregation as a local expression of the Church, related and accountable to other congregations through the service of the higher councils of the church.I'd welcome feedback (or pushback)...
I would note that Tod offered some more nuance in the post; I'm just trying to enter into the conversation and push a little towards more clarification over the relationship and calling of the individual and the congregation.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Every Wednesday evening at 6:15, we gather in a circle for prayer before the potluck dinner...
There must have been 40 kids - and I'm pretty sure I saw one of them pass a football through the fanciest part of the vestibule... the group home guys were running late... the kids we tutor before dinner were staying for the evening and their parents had come... the neighbors across the street had sent their kids, but then I was so thrilled when they came too... our missionary friends were home between trips to Florida, Budapest, and Greece... she was talking to me about an album she wants to record before they get back to the field... I saw at least five different people I had cried with the previous week and thought, "I know they are really struggling; how glad I am that they are willing to live out their struggles with the church family."
Noise, newness, babies, children, youth, limping, laughing, crying.... blessed pandemonium.
God is good!
And that was all before we left the building.... :)
posted by robert austell at 7:36 AM