Pastoral Social Structures that form Moral Failure

I am enjoying my way through David Fitch’s insightful book, The Great Giveaway. In it he devotes a chapter to leadership that does well to deconstruct unhealthy evangelical leadership structures. He works the issue of why moral failure in the pastorate is so prevalent and attributes the challenge to the very social structures by which pastors are trained.

Many evangelical ecclesiologies embrace the pastoral role as CEO. Fitch argues that in doing so, there is little support for these pastors who are driven by success and the pressure to be upstanding, or superhuman, in every regard. Fitch says that “…underlying these structures is the assumption that pastors are expected to maintain their own moral character all on their own.” (p.84) In addition, he argues that when pastors do have accountability groups, they are often outside the church with people who have no reference of how the pastor participates in the life of community. This disconnected state does little to offer the depth of discipleship necessary for a pastor. Fitch explains further:

“Underwriting this understanding of pastoral character is an individualist theology of sanctification. It says one’s character and growth is a product of one’s individual relationship with Christ. Evangelicals have no theology of character and virtue where we view one’s growth in Christ as a product of one’s worship and communal practices in a community governed by the Holy Spirit. Postmodern writers reveal the myriad of ways social worlds construct ‘selves’, postmodern theologians help us see that in the liturgical participation of worship we find our subjectivity in Christ, and postsecular writers help us realize that we can only see the truth about ourselves in the community of Christ. In stark contrast, we evangelicals want to remain cloistered unto ourselves, working out our ‘sin issues’ in the privacy of our closets. Because character and virtue have been previously associated with a theology of works a la Roman Catholicism, we reject sanctification that comes from engaging our lives in the skills of confession, repentance, discernment, and speaking truth in love.” (p.85)

I have never heard it put so well. This book is a must read.

What do you think?

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3 Perspectives on Pastoral Ministry

I’ve been thinking about pastoral ministry and the many images we have that define that vocation. We’ve hear of shepherd, teacher, leader, guide, and coach, among others. They are all valuable images that lend to the vocation. However, in our culturally progressive and business-minded world, new images of pastor as CEO, or manager have made their way to the ministry forefront. These images, mainly justified for their effectiveness at growing churches numerically, have also presented a challenge to the ancient and serious vocation of pastor to lead and guide. The challenge is largely about control and a type of manipulation to produce the desired numerical results.

Is numerical growth a bad thing? No, it is actually a wonderful thing and a (not the only) sign of God’s blessing. We flirt with danger when our primary way of defining success is in terms of numerical growth. In scripture (most commonly Acts) we find numerical growth recorded and in fact emphasized often. However, it was mostly a byproduct (if I can use that term) of the Church’s faithfulness to the leading of the Holy Spirit. That is not to say that numerical growth will accompany faithfulness, sometimes it doesn’t; although the faithful community is attractive. While numbers are important in terms of the Kingdom – after all, it is God’s intent that all be saved and inherit eternal life (1 Tim 2:4) – they cannot alone define success for us; most notably because of the cultural forces of capital that tempt us to commodify people so as to get more people and therefore claim success. This results is a mentality that believes numbers (success) can be achieved if the right levers are pulled and strategies implemented.

As the church’s pastors are an important vehicle through which discipleship and growth happen, it’s important to offer counter perspectives on pastoral ministry to inspire this craft as ‘other’ than controlling outcomes. In addition, if we believe that the future of God is among His people (Roxburgh, et al), then the vocation of pastor should be one that does not impose direction or control onto a community, but instead, cultivates an environment where God’s voice and direction can be discerned communally whilst not neglecting the value of spiritually mature leadership in the church to facilitate that discernment.

With that in mind, I want to offer three perspectives that I think can help us foster creative and healthy ways of pastoral ministry. They are above all responsive postures that I feel will keep the church in her rightful place, not in control, but responsive to the leading of the Spirit in each and every situation of mission and ministry. I might add at this point that some of the modern images for pastoral leadership mentioned are not inherently bad. My warning is that when imported from the business world, for example, they come with an ethos of control.

Pastor as Midwife

I originally heard Eugene Peterson give this image in a recording of his Soul Craft class, taught at Regent College in the late 90’s. The idea of midwife is an important one to consider when thinking of pastoral ministry, as it is a servant role that does not control new birth, but facilitates it. In the same way as pastors we must always be in submission and service to the life God is birthing in people so as to faithfully help it along. Pastors who reverently fear God and respect His image in the face of others will do well to avoid the compulsion to give all the answers and manipulate outcomes. Being an instrument in the hands of God assumes that we let God use us as he wishes, rather than using God as we wish.

Pastor as Gardener

Gardening is a task that requires great patience. It is time consuming and requires the gardener to be aware of seasons and weeds and pests. It requires a diligence to prune and encourage growth toward bearing fruit. So too the pastor. The pastor who sees himself/herself as a gardener will know that the primary task is to cultivate the environment for spiritual growth to occur. It requires a commitment to fostering a community of openness and honesty; a community of discernment. The pastor cannot make the garden grow, that’s God’s responsibility. The pastor merely tills the soil, making the place ready to bear fruit. This too is an image that will keep the pastoral vocation servile to God’s leading.

Pastor as Co-Detective

To be a detective, one must be constantly aware of surroundings and the greater truth. That is, after all, the goal of detective work; to find the truth of a matter. Questions like “what is going on here?” and “What happened?” occupy most of the detective imagination in the effort to discover the greater truth. All the clues are carefully examined to aid in this task. As Christians, we are all called to a detective like work in discerning the Spirit’s activity in our lives. Pastor as co-detective can help aid in this process by asking the right questions and helping others discern God’s work in their lives and the lives of the greater Christian community. It is also a role that is in service to the greater work of God in the life of the church. It is above all a listening vocartion. Pastors who seek to be co-detectives in the Kingdom to the work of God will do well to remain in submission to the active and present Lord in each situation, relationship, and missional horizon.

Offering these perspectives on pastoral ministry does not negate the ones commonly used. I would suggest that fresh images should always be imagined to help keep perspective and enrich the task of ministry. These perspectives are not without potential weakness as well. It is the Church’s task to evaluate ministry often to ensure we are being faithful.

There are situations that call for different approaches to sustain the community. One can think of Paul and the measures he took to corral the leadership in Ephesus as a result of faulty teaching. This was a drastic and prescriptive measure compared to the normative pastoral guidance Paul employed which creatively incorporated some elements of the perspectives shared above.

What images of pastoral ministry are helpful to you?

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Speedlinking-August 19th

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  • Here is a great quote about Discipleship from Erika’s site.
  • The 417 Rules of Awesomely Bold Leadership…also Here and Here.
  • For Mac users…I ordered I-Life 08. I hear mixed reviews. What about you? What do you think of it?
  • Here are some books I have just ordered:

Any of you read these books? If so, what do you think?

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Signs of Emergence…

Jordan Cooper reviews Sign’s of Emergence by Kester Brewin, now released in North America. Here is a quote I picked up from Len’s blog today. It is rather well put and perhaps not what many might expect is the right solution by today’s assumptions.

"There are still those who cry for revolution, for a revival that will change things in a snap, make everything OK as thousands flock to church… But the days for revolution are over. The cry for revival is too often a cry for abdication: you do it all, God. Well God has done God’s bit, it is the systems that now need to change. This is the faith we have signed up for: the Church as the body of Christ where we have real parts to play, real responsibilities. We must not act rashly–diving in to this or that. We must do as God did. Stop. Wait. Grieve. Strip away power, might, pretence at knowledge, riches… and be born again. As Einstein famously said, “The same consciousness that created a problem can not solve it."

Some questions to consider

  1. What constitutes a missional ecclesiology? Is it the activity of mission from an ecclesial centre, or is mission central and formative of any supporting structures for discipleship and mobilization
  2. What are the differences between values and practices for formation?

I would like to know your thoughts on the subject. What do you think?

A motley bunch of followers [Updated]…

Tonight our leadership team gathered for a BBQ to celebrate the year. Nothing formal, just being friends all sharing in the joy and struggle of leadership together. We gathered in the evening and joined our voices in worship. As we were singing, I couldn’t help but stop and look around the room where twenty-something leaders were lifting their hearts up to God in reverent praise. As I watched, it dawned on me. This rag tag bunch of people are the ones that God wants to use to change the world. From ex-cops, to ex-drug dealers, from housewives to business people, from blue collar workers to graphic designers, I realized tat this bunch of believers are all unique vessels that reflect God’s love and truth into the world. It is not that I didn’t already know this, but it dawned on me in a special way tonight. What a marvelous realization… that we are called to be a people that proclaim the Lordship of Jesus as we act justly and love mercy. What a mission. What an adventure.

busy writing…

I have been busy the last couple of days formulating a proposal for a Spiritual Formation engagement in our congregation. This has kept me from posting as much as I like.

The engagement I am working on is a practice in discernment through the prayer of Examen to help our mission groups walk in closer attentiveness to God. This I am hoping will help our groups take mission in our neighbourhoods to the next level. It’s been a fun exercise so far and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on it more later. It was due yesterday and I am desperately trying to get this finished up.

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A full day…work and Allelon and missional engagement

I spent the first half of the day at work eagerly waiting for the 11th hour so I could jaunt over to Carey College to sit in at the Allelon Summer Institute. I was eager to hear Alan Roxburgh, Cam Roxburgh, and Alan Hirsch talk about things missional. I was equally eager to meet up with a few from the blogging community. I sat with Bill Kinnon and his wife Imbi (a delightful couple) during lunch and had an opportunity to talk through some of what Alan R was getting at in his talk as well. After lunch I met Mike Todd in person and had a chance to chat with him for a bit. I also got to connect with Scott Cripps and Santosh, both blogging friends on the missional journey. In the afternoon, I sat in on Alan Hirsch’s teaching about discipleship and practices. He is quite the teacher and what he said was profound. Below are some general summaries of what each of them said (what I heard for the brief time i was there, anyway).

Alan R talked about change and how the notion of mission, vision, and values are not something that can be prescribed into a given context. He suggested a lengthy process of listening and discernment to tease out the stories that are shaping the people of the congregation, followed by a journey into missional experimentation. The premise is that God’s Spirit and future is among his people and if we plop some strategy for growth onto a congregation from the top down in the form of mission, vision and values, we defy that premise altogether. The task of listening is one that places the congregation into a receptive and responsive posture to the work of God’s Spirit both inside and outside of the church. An engagement of practices that cultivates an environment for discernment and experimentation is the desired resolve to stoke deep honesty and innovate missional change.

I missed a bunch of what he said… this is what I caught from the 35 mins I was there.

Alan Hirsch talked about discipleship and missional practices. Below are some of my notes.

• Discipleship is ultimately embodiment of the Gospel (Jesus)

• Leadership is an extension of discipleship.

• Early Church was known for it’s radical goodness…

Gandhi, takes on the role of weaver. An image of Christ, taking on the lowest of the lowest (weaver) in the caste system Gandhi gets his authority from Jesus….he read Leo Tolstoy on the Sermon on the Mount….an embodiment of Kingdom values. In doing so, he challenges the status quo (Royal Consciousness) and inspires many more in the future. Authority is the example of a life consistent with teaching and that becomes the basis for authority. Our models of top down leadership are not Christ like. We do not exude the values of the Sermon on the Mount.

On Knowledge:

The Greek way – Think your way into a new way of action – the idea of knowledge is that if we can think it we will get it and we will change. This is an assumption that does not address the deep issues of behaviour, or discipleship.

Hebraic way – act your way into a new way of thinking. Jesus modeled this. Action drives thinking…why, what does it mean, Is it right or wrong? The Hebraic way is much closer to the human experience.

Just let people to do something? Hirsch says this will change things/people toward being missional? I am not certain this is capable if we do not go

through the listening process Alan R talked about.

Practices are not about values, but a re practices based on value that shape a community.

A Model for Practices

B = Bless x 3 (something good for someone, pray, paint, encourage

E = Eat x 3 (have food with someone at least 3 times per week. Hospitality)

L = Listening x 1 hour per week. (Somehow being attentive to God in quiet prayer)

L = Learn – committed to discipling through the Gospels….looping through Learning community

S = commitment to being sent. Keep a journal to how God is at work and how they saw God in their lives…

When they come together, on a Sunday, they walk through this together…bless, eat then someone is invited to share, teach the community. And then they are sent….they call out their sent-ness.

They call out the beauty of each person’s sent-ness, and then they go

This brings down the divide between sacred and secular…

Our job is to make all things sacred.

I had to leave just before Cam Roxburgh finished his talk about church planting in the Canadian context. He took some time to share his thoughts from 1 Peter 2:9-11 and share the Southside story. It is always refreshing to hear the story again (I am part of it) and a passion for the church that is inspiring exudes from Cam. We are on a journey as a church that has taken us into five different contexts and we have had much opportunity to experiment with new and innovating ways of incarnating the gospel into our communities.

I left and made my way home to prepare for our neighbourhood “coffee night get together”. I met a friend from our congregation and went to the local bakery and picked up all the left over bread they baked (6 bins full). We then set up shop in another friends carport and gave away free bread while people joined us for refreshments. It was a perfect night to bless our neighbourhood. We both welcomed people and delivered bread to the neighbours as a way to show that we care about this community. No agenda, just love for this place that pours out from us because we realize how deeply we are loved by God. It was neat leaving a conference on missional engagement to go and practice what we were talking about.

Alas, the end of my evening and following this post I am off to bed exhausted.

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Boundary Crossing and Missional Transformation

My friend Scott Hagley is working on his PHD at Luther Seminary and has written a couple of articles for the June 2007 issue of the Church Innovations newsletter. The first one is Boundary Crossing and Missional Transformation. He is both a gifted writer and sharp mind of things theological. I have the privilege of great conversation and friendship with him. Here is an excerpt from his article:

“When the Apostle Peter received Gentile hospitality at the house of Cornelius in Acts 10, he was astonished to discover the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out. “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water?” Peter asked. In Luke’s narrative, this question is simply rhetorical in that mission means participating in the creative boundary-crossing capacity of the Holy Spirit.

At the Sustaining Missional Leadership Conference, several church and denominational leaders told a similar story, recounting the development of new relationships on the inter-denominational, denominational, and judicatory levels. As these communities continue to cultivate a missional imagination, they are each discovering the leading of the Spirit for fruitful integration across old boundaries.”

Read the rest here

The second article is called Congregational Mission Reshapes Theological Education. Scott highlights ways in which churches and denominational systems are rethinking theological education in light of the missional conversation. This is a great thing to see as it indicated that the Church is serious about evaluating existing frameworks and being open to the new work of the Spirit in our Post Modern, Post Christian times. Here is a hint:

“Although the conversation at the “Sustaining Missional Leadership” Conference revolved around missional transformation in congregational and judicatory structures, there is no doubt that the missional conversation also poses a challenge for our denominational institutions of theological education. In what ways can seminaries develop and sustain missional leadership in and for congregations? Two interesting stories emerged at the conference.”

Read the rest here

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An important paper…

Len Hjalmarson has just finished up an important collection of writing called Leader as Listener. This 10 piece series can be downloaded here as a PDF. If you are involved in church leadership and haven’t taken the time to read it in full, I recommend you do so. This body of work is both an informative guide and prophetic critique. Please read it.

In his finale, Len draws on Brian McLaren’s article in Rev Magazine comparing modern leadership to the Wizard of Oz. Here is a taste:

“McLaren finds ten Wizardly characteristics of modern leadership. (You’ll notice the masculine pronoun used exclusively here.)

1. Bible Analyst: The modern Christian leader dissects the Bible like a scientist dissects a fetal pig

2. Broadcaster: Amplified voice electronically and a little reverb increases the power quotient

3. Objective Technician: The organization (church, ministry, etc.) is a machine, and the leader knows how to work the machine. It’s the object, and he’s the subject.

4. Warrior/Salesman: Modern leadership is about conquest — “winning” souls, launching “crusades,” “taking” this city for Jesus, etc. And it’s about marketing, getting buy-in, selling (and selling out).

5. Careerist: The modern leader earns credentials, grasps the bottom rung of the ladder, and climbs, climbs, climbs – whether he is a stock-boy-who-would-be-CEO or a young preacher on the rise.

6. Problem-Solver: Come to him, and he’ll fix you.

7. Apologist: Come to him, and he’ll tell you why he’s right and your doubt or skepticism is wrong.

8. Threat: Through mocking caricatures a gifted orator can make you fear that if you don’t agree with/follow/submit to his leadership, you’ll be banished – like the Wizard bellowing threats from behind his curtain.

9. Knower: The modern Christian leader appears supremely confident in his opinions, perspectives, beliefs, and formulations. While the rest of us question and doubt, he is the answer-man who knows.

10. Solo Act: There’s only room for one in the Wizard’s control booth, and there’s only room for one at the top of the church org chart.”

“McLaren argues that we must move..

• From Bible analyst to spiritual sage

• From Broadcaster to listener

• From Technician to spiritual friend

• From Warrior/Salesman to dancer

• From Careerist to Amateur

• From Problem Solver to Co-Searcher

• From Apologist to Apologizer

• From Knower to Seeker

• From Solo Act to Team Builder”

Again, the link for you…

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Thursday, Bonhoeffer and Spiritual Direction

It’s Thursday (my Friday) and I sit in the lounge space at Regent College awaiting a meeting with a potential Spiritual Director. More on that below.

I had the rare opportunity to drive into work today, so I took the time to listen to yet another one of Krista Tippett’s podcasts from Speaking of Faith. This one was on Ethics and The Will of God, The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This is very good podcast that discusses, with filmmaker Martin Doblmeier, Bonhoeffer’s original ideas about the nature of ethics, the will of God, and Christianity without religion. I can’t recommend the Speaking of Faith podcasts enough, so go and listen to a few of them.

The podcast leaned heavily on Bonhoeffer’s, Letters and Papers from Prison. It intrigued me as the book is a collection of his developing thoughts that arose from his grapple with faithfulness in the midst of the messiness of life from a nazi prison. I bought the book.

One quote that stood out for me in the interview is the following excerpt from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s work, Life Together:

“On the ministry of listening: The first service that one owes to others in community consists in listening to them. Just as love for God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives His Word but also lends us His ear. …Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. But he who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life, and, in the end, there is nothing left but spiritual chatter and clerical condescension arrayed in pious words.”

The ministry of listening is something that has stood out for me lately. It is related to my experiences in the Centre for Spiritual Formation in the area of discernment. Len has been blogging tons about the role of listening in leadership as well. One of the questions I have been wrestling with lately is this: How do we learn to become a discerning people that pays attention to both the work of God in our lives and outside as he leads us into mission? I am in the process of putting a project together that will hopefully help us learn to understand discernment as way of life and facilitate deep missional engagement with the community.

Speaking of discernment, I mentioned above that I am awaiting a meeting with a Spiritual Director to see if it might work. I guess today is more of an interview process than anything. I’m looking forward to the experience and opportunity to learn from an intentional listening relationship. As this stuff becomes more familiar to me I’ll blog my thoughts.

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Some worthwhile link thingies to click on and read…

Will Willimon tees up a Dr King quote that is just as prophetic and piercing today as it was in his context…it’s about how the church should be a thermostat rather than thermometer.

Julie Clawson at Onehandclapping points to Chris Jordan’s Photography collection called Running the numbers. It looks at contemporary American culture through the lens of statistics. Here are some pics:


Depicts 426,000 cell phones, equal to the number of cell phones retired in the US every day.


Depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.

The rest of the collection is found here. Go have a look see.

And Len is back with Leader as Listener VI…it is a great piece…please read it.

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Jesus is Poor

"Jesus, the Blessed One, is poor. The poverty of Jesus is much more than an economic or social poverty. Jesus is poor because he freely chose powerlessness over power, vulnerability over defensiveness, dependency over self-sufficiency. As the great "Song of Christ" so beautifully expresses: "He … did not count equality with God something to be grasped. But he emptied himself, … becoming as human beings are" (Philippians 2:6-7). This is the poverty of spirit that Jesus chose to live.

Jesus calls us who are blessed as he is to live our lives with that same poverty."

~Henri Nouwen

I like Nouwen’s wisdom. It challenges and invites. I say challenges because at the core to becoming poor, as he describes it, is a choice. It is a letting go of the senseless striving for assertion and prestige and status that we hope will elevate us to some place of success among the socially and culturally acceptable ones our world so praises. I say invitation because there is something of extraordinary beauty that lies at the centre of letting go of the striving and casting oneself into the seemingly irrational trust in the God who promises to provide. Can we trust to the point of poverty that promises life to the fullest?

Spiritual Formation Retreat – Day 6

Day six (Saturday) was the day we all looked forward to. It was time to make our way outward and visit with Tim Dickau from Grandview Calvary Baptist Church on the East Side of Vancouver. We gathered after morning prayers and breakfast and began the trek toward the bus station. After the bus ride, we arrived at the corner of Commercial and Broadway and made our way toward the Church. Fortunately we passed one of the greatest coffee shops in town so I had to suggest we stop for a fix.

When we arrived at the church we were greeted by Tim and ushered into a multi purpose room in the basement of the church building. Tim led us through some of the most stimulating theological discussion. Before getting into the specifics of how his congregation has lived out a gospel witness, TIm got into questions about the gospel, eschatology, justice, and importantly lament. Lament for him was a huge key in the manifestation of a prophetic witness. We have become numb and lost the capacity to mourn the injustice and oppression around us. He had asked us to read chapter three from Brueggemann’s book, The Prophetic Imagination, called; Prophetic Criticizing and the Embracing of Pathos, as preparation for our discussions. He led us through a Lectio Divina reading on Amos 6:1-7 and the imagery of the text really hit home to the apathy we feel toward the least of these.

The startling thing to realize was to what level we are all socialized and caught up in what Brueggemann calls the Royal Consciousness; that is, the status quo the empire must maintain that stifles imagination for alternative realities and presses us into living simply for the now. That agenda has been manifest throughout time in the pursuit of wealth and the marginalization of the poor. The Royal Consciousness thrives on the near sighted-ness of people to issues of the world around them.

I have experienced this numbness. I can liken it to the experience of channel surfing. We are a culture saturated with images. When images of suffering and injustice are presented to us, we have this inane ability to turn the channel on our TVs and in our minds, thus preventing us from entering into the pain of situations and not experiencing lament. “And now, a word from our sponsors” has become the liturgy of suffering for us today.

After a short break, Tim shared with us the endless list of ventures they as a church have both instigated and supported. From community housing, to addressing issues of homelessness, to advocacy, to community gardening, and supporting the arts. The stories are rich and reflect the way this diverse community has come together to win the favor of the people and confront the powers of oppression and injustice in their neighbourhood.

Tim reflected on the last number of years and identified four key trajectories that his church has moved along in one way or another. I share them with his permission.

1. From isolation, to community, to radical hospitality

2. From homogeneity, to diversity, to integrated multicultural living

3. From charity, to advocacy, to seeking justice for the least

4. From confronting idolatries, to repentance, to the pursuit of deeper participation in the life of God.

What struck me the most about all Tim shared was how this community learned to engage the powers of society through the practice of lament in worship and life. They resist the urge to construct worship in a way that reflects the “happy and clappy” status quo of culture and they have learned to tell the truth about their lives and situation. Often that means embracing suffering and lamenting the brokenness of the world we live in. This has led to hearts breaking and the re-imagining of a future under God’s reign for the Commercial Drive area. Their community is a vivid picture of the interplay between heaven and the Drive. Change for them is not offering a religious program for consumption to the people, but attacking through compassion the systems that perpetuate the marginalization of people.

It was time for lunch and we made our way to a fine restaurant in the Il Mercado Mall for traditional Italian pizza. After lunch Tim strolled us through the neighbourhood and told us stories of people and places over the years. Eighteen years of relationship building culminated in fruitful discussion with patrons and homeless people on the Drive; all in some way integrated with the love that has poured out from the church.

After a wrap up discussion to unpack the experience at the church after our walk, we made our way back to campus and into a time of silence for 24 hours. It was a necessary time to sit with all we’ve discovered this week. Our silence began at 4:30 and we were given some guidance for reflection. The clamoring of street festival and busy Saturday buzzing on the drive was now gone. Dinner in silence, evening walk in silence, the sun set silently, and into the silent night we journeyed together pondering these things in our hearts.

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Center for Spiritual Formation

I have completed all my final preparations tonight as in the morning I am off for an eight day retreat for the 2nd year class in the Centre for Spiritual Formation. CSF is a two year intensive offered through Carey Theological College and is the concentration I have chosen for my MPM degree tract. The first five days are at Rivendale on Bowen Island and the remaining three days are at Carey. This year we focus on the outward journey. I am looking forward to the Missional Church component; one of several sessions we will have this week; it’s sure to be a fruitful conversation. The class will also spend some time with Grandview Calvary Baptist Church that is doing some unique stuff in Vancouver.

I will be blogging the experience, perhaps not daily, but frequently. I am looking forward to being still, set morning and evening prayers, seeing old friends, and engaging some wonderful conversations.

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