2017 Conference!

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

It's 2017 and this year it is a very short trip with a very targeted purpose. To present at the Minister's Equipping Conference. Our focus: Souls in Our Care, Connecting Counseling and Pastoring.

As always your prayers and comments are definitely coveted and encouraged!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weeks 3-5 -- Under His Gaze....

Apologies for the long time without updates! A bit swamped..... so this is a bit long.....
First, an interesting juxtaposition of studies:
            A quote from Kathy Troccoli Living in Love with Jesus, which addresses our human propensity to flee   fellowship when things get          (fill in your own word).  
Kathy speaks of a discomfort that sets in "when anything holy or sacred is mentioned."  Things progress to a place of living to just do no harm, or to be a good person.   She  talks about this mentality setting in because we "no longer want to be under the gaze of God Himself.  Because when you (I) allow God to look at you (me), He will judge you (me)  rightly, see you (me) correctly, and challenge you (me)  to die so you (I)  can live." (Pg 148, italics mine).
            Preparing for the  upcoming Equipped to Educate conference, I've been reading on narrative perspectives.  Irene Alexander in Interweavings,  Conversations Between Narrative Therapy and Christian Faith, talks about the narrative notion of the normalizing gaze.  This gaze is  "the self-checking and comparison with the norms of our culture--'what will people think'   (that) has become a strong motivator in checking our behavior, beliefs, attitudes and values."  That tape that can run in an endless background loop....
            Alright, that one isn't so hard for me to see --   I can easily distance myself from that, right?   Jo,  just don't compare yourself with the stuff -- the standards ---of this world!  Done!  Hah!
            Irene observes how we, as Christians, can set up that same sort of standardizing with one another.   You know,  decide what good "Christians"  look like;   what "churches" and Christian settings "should" be like, etc.  We evolve our set of "norms" and then call them "good Christian values".   We hold each other to those norms. We grow to accept them without question, and hold ourselves to them.  They become the piercing eyes of that "normalizing gaze".... always watching us!   We can even get to the point of beating ourselves and others up with them!      
              The trouble is,  in all that "evolving"  we now have a bunch of stuff  and some (perhaps much) of it isn't what Jesus actually said OR is  based on anything biblical at all!   And we think the Pharisees have that legalism market cornered! Yikes!                
     The two "gazes" really struck my heart.   At any given moment I can forget Who's eyes are on me and then it's a too-easy leap to forgetting Who matters most.   What is worse is we-- I -- can step away from  God's gaze altogether.   Ironic, in Him we have a sure shot at being looked upon with unconditional love!! Sigh.
Meanwhile:   Updates and prayer requests:
  • Praise the Lord,  the trip to Yap and Palau  are on, and the tickets have been purchased!  
  • Despite our "goodbye party"  our young friend got an 11th hour reprieve and is still here on Guam.  Continued prayer needed.
  • Our team for PIU days (the  "Agape" team) has begun to meet and prepare, doing some fund raising and soon to practice our plays,  (Chuck will join when he arrives in March).   
  • Students, staff and faculty have begun to wander into my "open door" office and ask for time to chat, some have set up repeat appointments.   This is such an enormous blessing!! Pray as led.
  • My work with the Seminary curriculum is completed for the moment, it now goes onward for the next steps in the process.  Pray for  favor for this and  in general for the upcoming PIU board meeting.
  • I spoke at chapel on Friday on "stress"  and only stressed about it a little bit!  ;-)   It went well and two students did an amazing job of dramatizing.  I simply gave them the topic and they ran with it!
  • I have been connected to folks in Pohnpei to support the start of a women's shelter and to potentially do training for some churches there and the women being served.  There is even talk of a possible return trip with funding!! This is totally unexpected and amazing. Keep this in prayer! 
  • There has been tons of laughter about all sorts of silly things and some great snorkeling -- I got to borrow an underwater camera. Enjoy the video!

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