“The effective teacher always teaches from the overflow of a full life”
“The way people learn determines how you teach.”
“Maximum learning is always the result of maximum involvement.”
“To truly impart information requires the building of bridges.”
“Teaching that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart.”
“Teaching is most effective when the learner is properly motivated.”
“The teaching-learning process will be most effective when both teacher and learner are adequately prepared.”
Two weeks ago, I had my first chance to teach at our weekly worship gathering (Saturday Night Grace). I gave the final talk in a series "Spiritual Climate in Crisis." You can listen to it online. I'm new at this, so it's not too long-winded :) Unfortunately, you'll miss out on some fun images I shared, such like these:
I read a couple books as I researched and thought about the topic of the Sabbath. I recommend the Sabbath by Abraham Heschel, for some Jewish, historical background and Keeping the Sabbath Wholly by Marva Dawn, for a contemporary, Christian perspective. Dawn shares some thoughts for intertwining some of the beautiful Jewish practices into our remembrance of the Sabbath. Also, check out JR's post on the Sabbath.
I'm a big fan of benedictions, so I wrote one out for this teaching. I pasted it in below. All in all, I really enjoyed this first experience of teaching/preaching/talking/presenting/dialogue-ing (however you choose to call it). God gave me a great peace as a I prepared and spoke. All honor to Him.
"When you want to keep moving in an attempt to do it all, I pray that you may learn to break free from the toxic climate that we live in today and learn to breathe in the fresh air of the Sabbath. May you come to understand that God gave us a beautiful gift in the rhythm of the Sabbath: freedom from the need to justify ourselves by the work of our hands and a foretaste of his eternal peace and rest in the world to come. And may you come to know that Jesus Christ came to bring us fully into God’s rest, fully into harmony with him and his creation and that he alone is the Way to that rest. Amen."
Four years ago, I was in South Africa for six months and God gave me a few close friends during my still-hard-to-believe-it-was-real African experience. About every six months, I reconnect with one of those friends, Sam Adams (yup). We update eachother on our lives and encourage eachother in our respective ministries. Originally from Zimbabwe, where his parents worked with an NGO, Sam moved to Cape Town and was attending the University of Cape Town and helping to lead the college ministry at Jubilee, the church that I attended while in Cape Town. I remember lots of stimulating conversations about poverty, the Church and the work of God's Spirit in our world.
The previously mentioned friend, whom I reconnected with online the other day, was also from Zim. Tami Mugadza was a chatty guy and he seemed to know about everyone, which was fitting since he had political aspirations. Found out that he's living in Beijing right now and moving to South Korea for a year to teach English. Tami and I talked about racism and politics in Africa, about language and spirituality and I even heard bone chilling stories of demon possession from back in Zim. Tami also introduced me to some locally grown music: house music and kwaito, among others. You should check them out.
I also remember Luke. Luke Balemba (I think?) was an incredibly intelligent and friendly bloke. He came to South Africa from the DRC and in one year, he taught himself English, without any prior education in English. He owned a little convenience store down the street from my house and was a student at a technical school in Cape Town. If I remember correctly, one of his brothers was a pastor in Oregon.
Thank God for old friends and chances to rekindle those friendships.
I haven't done a book review in a while...actually, I've probably never blogged a true book review, but I have a few spare minutes to start one, so here ya go.
McClaren opens with two questions that have bothered him for much of his Christian life, questions which were the impetus behind this latest book: What are the biggest problems in the world? What does Jesus have to say about these global problems?
He then reveals the inspiration for the book's controversial title. He and his daughter were at a conference in Berundi, along with fifty Christian leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa. There, they discussed what the Gospel meant for Africans, who had experienced years upon years of suffering. They had received a message that God cared about their eternal salvation after they died, but what about their present circumstances--the genocide, the hunger, the famine, the disease, the injustice and corruption? They wanted to know what the message of Jesus had to say about their present life in East Africa. McClaren, along with other leaders, talked about how Jesus' message was one that included the arrival of God's kingdom on earth, not just helping us get to heaven (see: Lord's prayer).
At the end of the conference, a young woman sat motionless. McClaren approached her and she said with wide eyes, "If Jesus' message of the kingdom of God is true, then everything must change."
Subsequently, McClaren asks, "if we were to apply the good news of the kingdom of God to global and societal problems, what could change?"
What could change?
...to be continued
Wonder no more...