Monthly Archives: November 2013

School of Life – a vision

We are all in a “School of Life”. I love this name, because it keeps us humble and aware, that our life is a never-ending learning experience. Our teacher is the Rabbi Jesus, the one whose feet we as Christians should follow so closely that the dust of his feet will cover us and “rub off”. This is the walk of a disciple.

Great Commandment and Great Commission

Jesus’ two fundamental teachings can be summarized into three facets of walking with God:

1. Love God (Matt 22:36-38)
2. Love people (Matt 22:39)
3. Disciple and teach all nations (Matt 28:18-20)

Each monastic order in the past had “practices”. There are 6 practices of the “School of Life” which emerge directly out of these three facets of walking with God:

1. Love God:
a) Practice of Prayer and Worship: on all kinds of occasions in all kinds of ways
b) Practice of Creativity: artistic expression of adoration in the form of art, sculpture, music, poetry, dance, fun, celebration etc.
2. Love People:
a) Practice of Merciful Community: focussing on the need of people to “belong before they behave in a certain way”, as well as their practical needs
b) Practice of Healing and Restoration: liberation from bondage and bad life patterns
3. Disciple and Teach all nations:
a) Practice of Evangelism and Missions: the clear and unhidden teaching of the gospel, taking it across cultural barriers where necessary
b) Practice of Teaching and Learning: growing in faith, life skills, trade skills and the ability to teach others

Apart from our own life school, the “School of Life” is also the fitting name for the community development project we are starting next year. We covet your prayers and support!

Loaded Gun Laid Down…

I am a pacifist. That is not a popular confession to make, especially when you are an American. Enough said. But I have another confession to make,  I struggle with using the violence of words.

As iron sharpens iron, my dear husband has pointed out to me, held a mirror up to me, ever so gently, and hinted that my words are like ammunition. More often than I like to admit, when I would disagree, I would shoot perfectly formed “word bullets” of sarcasm, wit or simply put-downs that would seem to make me the winner of the “war”.

War? When has this pacifist been prone to war? And really, truth told, when the words are spewed, no one really feels like a winner. Any hint of power I feel is over-ridden by the truth of a broken, distanced relationship that needs mending.

God has been working me over in this area of the tongue. This verse just kills me.

5-6 It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.
James 3 The Message

So I am seeking God to change this in my life but knowing my great propensity to absolutely blow it in the heat of the moment, I am surprised today. I am surprised that when a lady came at me last night, with guns loaded, shooting me down with warring words, in front of others, then if that was not enough, followed it up with an email just to prove her point and I do not fight back. But all night I am loading my war gun with the perfect words. I awake and there is this senseless peace that overtakes me and I just want to lay the gun down.

My husband looks at the email. He asks if I am going to respond and I say no. He looks shocked but so am I. Peace that truly passes my comprehension floods over me and I realize that the bravest thing to do is walk away from this war.

“No weapon formed against us shall prosper”. This is what is going through my head. And also this, “In this world you will have trouble, but be encouraged, I have overcome the world.” These Jesus words are filling my heart and mind and the loaded gun is lost in this truth that is overcoming me.

The One who has ultimately won all wars has won me. The One of Peace has somehow captured this so-called pacifist in this moment with the assurance that, yes there will be always guns aimed at me, this is life in this world, but my laying down my right to warring words is proof that I am living for another Kingdom.

This is victory. This is the miraculous. A gun loaded with words, laid down in willingness and peace because Someone bigger has been hearing the prayers of my broken heart and has tamed this war-prone tongue in spite of myself.

One battle won. My words 0… Peace…1

One down, but oh so many days that provoke warring words, to come.

So help me God…