Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Tuesday in Review
Summery of the Day
It’s the end of another long day. Matt is buying me a fancy glass of wine and holding the baby so that I can write for a little bit. I haven’t even had time to read what he has written, let alone that of anyone else. Today we have been entirely here in the hotel. The morning was taken up with worship, prayer, bible study and finally workshops. I am in the Marriage and Family workshop and Matt is in Bible Interpretation. They were both very good. Part of the work will be to help contribute to the general conference statement at the end of the week. The afternoon I meant to sit and blog but instead I sat and watched Matt blog, miraculously, thinking all the time that his computer was plugged in, when in fact it wasn’t. He typed for two hours without power on a battery that was nearly empty. Just another small miracle. I talked happily to GadgetVicar while we watched him type. In the evening we heard from Archbishop Nazir-Ali and then divided into provincial groups to discuss our hopes and expectations for our time at GAFCON. So that’s the breakdown of the day. And I’ve finally gotten the first slew of pictures off my camera. I’ll try to put a couple up this evening, depending on my internet connection.
At two am this morning I wrote 3 blog posts in my head. Of course, I can’t lay my mind on them now, but I am going to offer various thoughts under headings. I just want to get them down before they’re completely gone.
The Peace of Jerusalem
Yesterday, on the Mount of Olives, during the open prayer time, someone prayed for the peace of Jerusalem, that all the various religious groups living side by side in the city would get along. I prayed along whole heartedly with the prayer but was troubled all the way down the mountain. What exactly do we mean, when we pray for the peace of this city? Why is it called the city of peace when that is not the actual state of this place, of being at peace? And then, as probably greater and more wonderful people than me have known for a long time, I realized and saw, looking out at the Dome of the Rock, that this is the nexus of disunity on the earth. This is the place, on earth, where division and sorrow is more manifest than any other place on earth. Indeed, there is ‘peace’, it is a place where people live side by side in uneasy toleration of each other. But the divisions between Christian, Jew and Muslim are perhaps the deepest of any division known on earth.
It was so unnerving, walking slowly down the mountain, or rather slipping down the road, so worn by the feet of pilgrims and residents that it is smooth. This, now paved road, was the road Jesus walked so many times in his life, perhaps every year for Passover, and then as an adult over and over. But the last time we walked that road he stopped and wept, perhaps a little for himself and the passion he faced, but more for the people in the city, the people of that city who were poised to ultimately and entirely reject him. Here was God, walking amongst them, loving them in the way they were created to be loved, giving his whole self to them, and they didn’t want him. In open defiant rebellion they killed God in the city where had chosen of all places on the earth to live, to make a name for himself, to dwell. No wonder then that in the same way that Jerusalem was so long the locus of God’s presence on earth, it is now the locus of all the division of the earth, all the strife, all the rebellion. And it will remain so until Jesus returns in glory.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Jerusalem
Today I bought the wooden cut outs of a miniature Ark of the Covenant. At home I will snap it out and glue it together. I am trying to convince Matt to let me buy the temple—full replication. It would be so cool to have in the atrium.
On that note, I will say that working with the City of Jerusalem Material—painting it, drawing it on the board, making the little trees, and then using the material with the children—has made the experience of walking through the streets of Jerusalem…I’m groping for a word…there are no words. I’m just very grateful to have worked so much with that particular material.
The other very helpful visual has been the impact of shade. Talking about the greatness of the mustard tree, grown out of such a tiny seed, the need for shade, for the beauty of the tree will have much more depth for me in the atrium.
We are going to Bethlehem and Galilee on Saturday and I hope to gain much more insight and depth into atrium life there.
Those long promised thoughts on Parenting
Just as I was coming here, KA asked for a good recommendation on Parenting and I will take this opportunity to recommend our Favorite: Douglas Wilson’s Standing in the Promises. It has completely changed our lives as parents. I can’t recommend it enough for Godly, mature, high functioning parents. I wouldn’t probably recommend it so much for newly converted families or ones with serious problems. Here’s why I recommend it so highly.
So on the plane from JFK to Prague they lined all the babies up along the bulkhead—a total of 4 babies. The couple on my right had a four month baby whom they cuddled and doted over and managed to keep from crying nearly the whole flight. On the far left was a woman by herself with her baby, tired but in control. Then me, and then the Last Couple. Let me just say that the airline provided baby food for all of us and wonderful little bassinet things that fixed to the bulkhead of the plane so the babies could sleep, if they would. So, on to the Last Couple.
They were Czech, looking middle aged, very smiley and nice. They had two boys, maybe 5 or 6 and then one just under two, almost exactly the size and personality of my own R, and sensibly cute with fat cheeks, tree trunk legs, and a large gold cross affixed around his neck. This small guy, like the babies, had to be strapped to his mother for take off and landing. Not surprisingly, this was not in his plans and expectations and he screamed with the full force of his fat body to let us all know that. Instead of quietly telling him to stop crying, two things happened. First, the father did NOTHING. He sat back in his seat and gazed about him as if nothing was happening. And second, his mother succumbed and unbuckled the belt and put him down. This little process happened a total of 6 times before the plane took off. Each time his mother would pick him up, strap him in, he would scream, his father would do nothing, the mother would let him down and then a Flight Attendant would come, give the poor little persecuted guy a big hug, wiping away his giant tears, give him a candy, tell him to be good, and leave, only to have it all happen again in three minutes.
If you read the book, this poor couple’s mistakes will stand out like a Casino Billboard. First, it is the father’s responsibility to administer discipline. The second this little guy started wailing, his dad should have taken him from his mother, put the fear of God into his little unsanctified heart, given him a big loving hug, and strapped him on with firm instructions not to cry again. Second, his father having abdicated his responsibility to undertake to discipline him, his mother should have Won. You have to win Every Time, every time. One time of screaming, if you win, and the screaming is all done. Third, he shouldn’t have needed the outside aid and comfort of the Air Attendant because he should have known, through loving discipline, the boundary that he needed.
That’s the short hand. Hopefully, at a later moment, I will talk about dealing with sin and rebellion in children, a la Doug Wilson, and what a peaceful and joy filled home in produces. But onwards and upwards
The Anglican Communion
Is alive and well. I don’t have any idea what will be the substance and direction of this Council in the coming days, but this place is alive with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. As part of the communion is dying, like the huge big gnarled olive trees of the Garden of Gethsemane, so a new shoot of Anglicanism, a vibrant healthy, strong church is being grafted in to replace it. I fully expect this to take one or two hundred years, but its going to be so great when it’s a full alive beautiful tree. In the meantime, watch and pray.
Being Here with Matt
Its 10:30. Matt is sitting here very nicely and boredly with me while I have my turn on the outlet. We haven’t had much of a chance to talk to each other, running from talk to talk, conversation to conversation, tepid tea break to fancy coffee, but its jolly nice to be here together. I’m having a thoroughly good time, and so is Matt, even though he is having to fork over the big shekels to be allowed to work out in the weight room every day, with the right shoes on of course, and is drinking unstrained coffee grounds every morning because I forgot to bring his French Press. We couldn’t be happier.