Pause, Say No and Talents Galore

I believe the noise around the action of the leadership of a local church over the past year and a half (approximately) has finally and completely abated. I think this is a good and necessary thing, especially for Jason and Mel. Perhaps one day there may be meaningful re-engagement of sorts which would allow some closure. At this point in time however, it is probably best for them to both walk away. This sounds unsatisfactory but given ongoing unwillingness to mutually each other’s’ needs (or requests/demands) this looks like it would not be resolved anytime soon and it’s best for parties involved to not wait before looking at how they could best serve others and themselves in the days ahead. So it’s good (such as it is) to not have anything written or said anymore, which have been written or said countless times before.

Tress and I were walking the little fellow last night when I said to her I thought I’d not do anything for Uncle Jin anymore. He still wants to draw up a simple document to acknowledge his interest in some bank accounts held in his children’s names. This looked too much like a means of circumventing welfare entitlement rules and I feel uncomfortable in what is too close to an aiding and abetting role. The trouble is I don’t know how to say this to him/them. Uncle Jin would have started another round of chemotherapy treatment yesterday and he’d be in poor state of health for the next week or so, most probably. I guess this can wait, so I’d convey my thoughts when he is in a better state, maybe several or a couple of weeks from now.

Tress and I have been attending a small group of our church, since February this year. So we’re into the fifth month of engaging this group. It is such a talented bunch of people. I keep telling Tress we are probably in a place where we can only soak up everything thrown in. Anything we put into the pot would be helpful only in the sense of providing some assurances that we are participating in some ways, without necessarily making a difference to the end product.

The leader and her husband are Americans. Susan works part time for a non-profit organisation (Good Shepherd) and is a community development researcher. She has mentioned doing work on parent engagement and her work has been relied upon by State government. Her husband Matthew is the country director of TEAR Australia. Another Susan (Sue) is the head of church relations for World Vision and her work in bringing Miroslav Volf to an Arrows Leadership conference in Sydney recently led me to reading Vold again. She is very articulate and very caring – she’s the first to invite us to her home when we first came to this church. Her colleague Bill is a policy researcher and his son is a medical doctor and missionary for CMS in Rwanda. Mike is also a doctor and her daughter is married to the youth pastor. David and Pam used to be missionaries in Tanzania and while David has returned to secular work in a steel fabrication and installation company Pam remains in ministry as the General Secretary (or something like that) in Missions Interlink, an Evangelical Alliance missions arm. She is also on the board of CMS. Maree is a retired Chaplain of a girls’ school in Brighton and her husband is a respected figure in the mission circle in the bible belt that is the eastern suburbs. Mark is a church board member and used to be in the mission field in Nepal and I think he’s a missionary kid too. Elena is a researcher or sorts in CBM. Finally there’s Tress and I… you get the picture… like I said, we only soak it all up.

This is also generally true in relation to the church as a whole. Talent abounds everywhere. I don’t fear wrong teaching prevailing because the orthodoxy is solid without being stodgy as there is strong and constant recognition that the engagement is beyond the intellectual or cerebral. The regular liturgy provides constant reinforcement of the basics of our faith, which is rich and comprehensive. The prayers and conversations demonstrate a rich engagement with both domestic and international current and pertinent issues. Yet at the same time the self-effacing, funny and lack of self-importance disarm and relaxes, which make it all so much easier to “soak it all up”.

The flip side of course, is I guess St Alf’s would have a lot to answer for. So many talents… what has it done with them?