I want to write so many blogs right now but I don't know where to start. My head is full of half-formed thoughts, things that still need to be discussed, read-up on, challenged, refined, and put into sentences and paragraphs. This overwhelms me, especially because I have a couple of chances to teach in the near future, and I kind of want to know what I think before I teach other people! I am humbled by my own confusion, and my sense of the complexity of things.
In addition to my favorite topics of the year so far (eg. homosexuality and faith), my work this summer has opened up whole new doors in my mind. My first learn-to-pastor job is in a brand new church in the Downtown Eastside/Strathcona area of Vancouver, a church geared toward families, a church that meets outside in a park, a small church with no name and no money, but a lot of vision and a lot of love. Although I've worked in the neighborhood for several years with Jacob's Well (and continue to work there), the last couple of months have stretched me in very new ways. I've been through a cycle of intense emotions, which I try not to take out on my roommates. I fluctuate between intense despair in the "impossible" situation of the neighborhood and many people I know there, and crazy hope in the already-coming Kingdom of God. I've been hanging out with a lot of kids and learning from them. I've been trying to figure out what God is up to with this whole "church" idea in general, and more specifically in this neighborhood. I've been reading and thinking about so many issues: colonization and the past/present situation of First Nations people, dependency, generational cycles, trans-cultural church communities, the God who suffers, addiction and harm reduction, systemic evil, incarnational ministry, poverty and homelessness, worship with the least of these, and how mercy interacts with justice.
How do I as a white person pastor a church of primarily First Nations people when the white church has done so much injustice and caused so much suffering among First Nations people? How do I pastor in ways that give power away and break cycles of dependency and pain? Should I move into the neighborhood (right now I live 10 min. away), or would that be too much for me right now? Where is the Kingdom breaking through in the neighborhood? What does worship look like here? How do I best use my twenty hours a week? Is this the kind of place where I'm meant to serve long-term? These are only a few of the questions I've been asking. Maybe I'll blog about some of them once I get my head around them.
For now, you can read about our little church at this blog, which I will be contributing to regularly. Also, if you're interested in committing to pray regularly for me in this church-planting thing, and getting on a prayer e-mail list, please let me know.
Today for the Kingdom.