On My Radar: A look at the week behind me

There’s a lot on my plate right now, and it’s all really awesome stuff (at least, to me!). Here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to since my last post:

IAM Conversations with W. Davd O. Taylor
This week, I interviewed W. David O. Taylor, an energetic, articulate, kind, and creative author/speaker/seminary student. We talked about his work as an arts pastor in Texas and his new book, “For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts,” a collection of essays by people I know and love (Andy Crouch, Barbara Nicolosi), people I just know of and love (Eugene Peterson, Jeremy Begbie, Lauren Winner), and people I had not heard of until this book but now love (John Witvliet, Joshua Banner). I know I say this a lot, but this was one of my favorite IAM Conversations, and it’s especially great for pastors.

The Lausanne Congress in Cape Town
I am one of around 400 people from the United States who will travel to Cape Town, South Africa this October to participate in a global summit of Christian leaders from around the world. I am told that there is an estimated 4,000 people from 200 nations planning to attend the third Lausanne Congress for World Evangelism.

As part of the build-up and preparation for this incredible event, the Lausanne Movement is hosting twelve events in twelve cities across the nation to engage Christians from many denominational backgrounds to wrestle with several key questions and issues that will be addressed in Cape Town.

Last night was the New York City “Conversation,” and it was a good one for me on several levels, both personal and corporate. Personally, since all three of my pastors (Dave, John and Peter) came with me, I felt a little like a kid when her parents come to see her in a school play. I kept looking around for them and feeling a little more confident because they were there with me. I also got to see several people who are very dear to me, but I have not seen much in years, including Deryck & Cathy Barson (All Souls Christian Church, NYC), John Yenchko (North Shore Community Church, Oyster Bay, NY), Joan Ball (author), Laurie Midgette (Christian Cultural Center, Brooklyn), and many others.

On a corporate level, it was great because it is a rare occasion when more than one person (me) is representing Staten Island at a “New York City Church” gathering, and last night there were FIVE from Staten Island (that I knew of). Four from New Hope Community Church, and one from Chinese Christian Church (Lee Ka.) I get a little fed up with events that are billed as “New York City Churches” with no one from Staten Island in the mix. So, using my little part in these things, I’m doing my best to represent “The Forgotten Borough.”

My Father’s House in El Salvador
This week I booked two flights – one for me and one for my Dad – to go to El Salvador in July to visit La Casa De Mi Padre, a wonderful orphanage there. My parents have been supporting the orphanage for years, and this will be my fifth visit there (that's me with Alejandro at right). I can’t wait.

Ethnology of Africa
The class I am taking this semester for the Communications and Culture program at CUNY is “Ethnology of Africa,” and for my fieldwork project, I am comparing my experience as a white American Christian with worship experiences with native African Christians. Part of my research involved a trip this week to worship with a community of Christians from Nigeria. I wore the beautiful, custom-made dress and head wrap that I got when I was in that country in 2005, and I had a delightful time worshiping with these brothers and sisters, who were certainly surprised to see a white woman joining them (especially a white woman clothed in their native dress!) but received me warmly and demonstrated genuine hospitality.

The exhibit up at Space 38|39 right now is HUMANIZATION, featuring art by seven Philadelphia-based fine artists. The show had a very successful opening last Friday and will be up until May 3.

As I look back on the past week, it’s been a full one! I led worship last Sunday at Grace Church of Greenwich in Greenwich, CT… rehearsed with the singers who will be on my worship team at the Metro C&MA Spring Women’s Retreat next weekend… spent hours of time on conference calls with IAM regional people in Wisconsin, Germany, California… celebrated three friends’ pregnancies at a baby shower… took a beautiful walk in Snug Harbor… and made a delicious pot of lentil soup.

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Preach the Gospel Always. When Necessary, Use Words: Part 2

A while back I wrote a blog post on the often cited quote, “Preach the Gospel always, when necessary use words,” which is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.

The blog addressed a difficult and challenging relationship of Christian proclamation aka word vs demonstration aka deed.

One inquisitive reader raised the following questions:

1) Jesus seems to prioritize his teaching ministry over his “deed” ministry at various points (e.g. Mark 1:35-39, 3:7-19, 4:1-2 and the parallels in the other synoptic gospels).

2) Jesus seems to describe the ‘self-sacrificial’ life of following him to ‘adhering to his words,’ and doing so is for his sake (which is equated to the gospel’s sake) in Mark 8:31-38.

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