Our intention for some time now has been to send you quarterly prayer letters and this no doubt would have made it much easier for us to communicate our experiences in depth. But we have been so incessantly busy this year that writing and publishing a prayer letter has been relegated to the bottom of the pile. So, we figured that if we’re going to try to pack in the details on a longer letter, we ought to at least include some good pictures.
“Chosen, Holy and Beloved”
Knox Presbyterian Church
December 31, 2006
Welcome to Knox Presbyterian Church on this, the last day of the year 2006.
I must confess that I always feel a bit hesitant about the kind of self reflection I know I’m supposed to be doing today. I have a checkered history with New Year’s resolutions. They’re a lot like my many journals. I have a whole collection of journals that stop and start like a teenager learning to drive with a clutch.
Typically I start well … a little too well, clearly ambitious, often verbose. My entry on January 1st often begins, “It’s been a long time since I last journaled and I’m hoping to turn over a new leaf.” I spend pages summing up the last year, lamenting all that I’ve forgotten and left undocumented. Transition to this year. This year will be different. Here are the classic closing words: “I am committing to write in my journal as often as possible, at least twice a week, for the rest of this year starting today.” I remember the feeling of completing that first journal entry, the satisfaction of turning over a new leaf. Well, that was the last leaf that got turned until mid June where I find something like this: “It’s been a long time since I last journaled …”
At the end of our summer, Lea and I were at the Alongside Ministries International Conference in France. While there, I had a great conversation with a fellow from California. We wrestled together through what it means for a man’s passions for struggle, sacrifice and risk to be excercised in the context of the Christian Church. It seems like we’re told to lay those aspects of our masculinity down when it comes to faith and worship. I couldn’t disagree more.
I think the Bible gives us many examples of risk taking, passionate, gutsy, blood-sweat-and-tears, men who were identified as servants and worshipers of the Lord without having to dress up and tone down. Unfortunately, these inate aspects of masculinity are also in high demand in the world and are quite naturally put to the service of capitalism, the exploitation of sexuality and war. What does it look like for Christian men to excercise these same passions in the context of the contemporary Church? I’m always on the lookout for