Monday, March 11, 2013

The Fourth Commandment

Mondays are supposed to be my sabbath day--but I'm pretty bad at observing it these days--thus breaking the Fourth Commandment. Today I met with two colleagues to talk about a big project that is brewing. One bought me lunch and we had a very pleasant conversation about all sorts of issues relevant to Anglican Pastors in Toronto. Funny how whether we are in a small church or a big one we often have the same exact challenges. Having lots of staff and resources doesn't seem to make a difference.

This quality to the problems we were discussing means that we stumbled onto the very challenges that define this generation of ministry--things beyond a quick fix or even the diligent application of superior technique or resources. Because these things seem out of our control it would be easy to try to ignore them, but in truth I think we have no choice but to engage them.

I wish I could be more specific, but it would impolitic. And it doesn't really matter, anyway, because what I'm trying to describe is how when people come together they discover something in their common experience which exposes the universality of the human struggle against the forces of darkness: ignorance, hopelessness, and anger. You really don't have to probe very hand to encounter deep stuff in anyone's life.

The other day I heard a sermon in which someone spoke very passionately about how what we need today are preachers who will tell this wicked and depraved generation just how sinful they are. Because only when they know how depraved they are can they know their need for God and thus submit to His gracious will. As a pragmatic matter, telling people they are sinful probably isn't going to get you very far. People are certainly broken enough without us heaping on our own judgment thinly disguised as God's. Better to simply ask people how they are hurting and explore that for a while. That's the real sinfulness that forms the motivation for seeking Grace.

Anyway, so I had those two meetings and then came home and worked on my super double secret Henry project, which I won't reveal on this blog until it is completed. I talk way too much about projects that I've only begun and or have in process--this one I'm going to wait on before I show you all.

So the last thing I did on my sabbath day was work on my canoe. This beauty has been in process for more than a year, and the "Backyard Boatbuilder's Collective" kind of took a sabbatical for a while because of the racing season last summer and then the cold weather and people's general busyness. But now we are engaged in earnest again, and made good progress this evening on my boat. We just have one more night of sanding and wood working to do on the hull and then she is ready for varnish. I'll do that in my own garage, perhaps next week.

I have to build another set of canoe seats--that's in process--and then all we'll need to do is skin the boat and enjoy!

The smell of wet cedar--the curls made by the block plane--that made today feel like a sabbath!


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