Month: February 2008

Going Home

We just received word from the doctor. Tommie will get to go home today. While it is never fast enough for young folks it is one day less than it could have been. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Improving

tommiehospital41.jpgThis afternoon the respiratory therapist came in and suggested we try a bit without the oxygen. Eight hours later and three different “vitals” recordings revealed a blood-oxygen level to make the doctors proud. Tommie ate better this evening than she has in more than a week. She is certainly improving. Who knows, maybe we will go home sometime tomorrow. Thank you for your notes of concern and prayer.

Series Interruption

I will continue my series “The Edge of the Inside” later this week. Our youngest is in the hospital with pneumonia. She is doing better but it may be a day or two stay. Your prayers are appreciated.

UPDATE

We learned this morning Tommie’s pneumonia has worsened a bit. The doctor suggested this was normal due to the amount of IV fluids they are giving. She also has pleurisy making her breathing more difficult. The result – another couple of days here in the hospital. Like us, she appreciates your prayers.

The Edge of the Inside … Pt. 1

“What’s in a name?” The wise Solomon suggested, “a good name is to be chosen above riches.” Most muse about the meaning of their name at one point or another. Parents fret over what to name their children and will often refer to books that give the meanings of common names. On my recent trip to Spain I met a couple. The wife’s father happened on a name while walking through a cemetery. There on a gravestone he thought he read the name, “Mentanna.” Years later they walked through that same cemetery and discovered the name was, “Mentaha.” Rather than feel bashful about her name, Mentanna wears the name with great pride.

In the first iteration of my blog I chose the title, “Just Todd.” My friend Mark had titled his first blog, “Just Mark.” Flattery is a compliment. I asked Mark if he minded if I used his idea. Over the past number of years I have used a variety of platforms – Blogger, Typepad and now WordPress. Last summer I thought it time to re-work the blog. My friend David helped set up the new digs. In the process it was time for a new title.

A couple of years ago I was privileged to meet Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest. We had dinner in New Mexico. We toured the Center for Action and Contemplation he founded in Albuquerque. One of the newsletters I picked up to read contained an article by Father Rohr titled, “The Edge of the Inside: The Prophetic Position.” Thoughts of a prophetic position for the pastor of a local church resonated with me. I found the name for the new iteration of my blog.

What is the “edge?” Father Rohr suggests it is liminal space. The space he describes is one where we are moving from old ways of thinking to new ways, the place toward holiness. He notes,

To take your position on the spiritual edge of things is to learn how to move safely in and out, back and forth, across and return. It is a prophetic position, not a rebellious or antisocial one. When you live on the edge of anything with respect and honor, you are in a very auspicious position. You are free from its central seduction, but also free to hear its core message in very new and creative ways. When you  are at the center of something, you usually confuse the essentials with the non-essentials, and get tied down by trivia, loyalty tests, and job security, Not much can happen there.

Leading a local church should always leave us looking for the space where we may help others move toward holiness.

More in Pt. 2

From the Margins … The Way Forward … More Reflections from Western Europe

marginalization.gifQuite fitting it was to finish reading a Leslie Newbigin work on the flight over to Barcelona. Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship proved a great introduction to the thoughts if the late Michael Polanyi. Missionaries offer keen insight, especially when trying to get one’s mind around the discontinuous cultural changes we face here in North America. We do well to listen and discover the ways in which we have accommodated to a certain ethos, pathos and logos of a bygone era.

Newbigin asserts we may have built religous/spiritual infrastructure around Cartesian methodologies that undermine the move toward faith. Hoping to rival the indubitable certainties proffered by science, religious figures mounted a campaign to compete in an arena where neither discipline could possibly fare well. Achievements of objective knowing have been greatly exaggerated. When the Church hitched its proverbial wagon to the Enlightenment,

It was almost inevitable that the collapse of confidence in the great project of the Enlightenment should carry with it a collapse of confidence in the validity of the church’s worldwide missionary enterprise.

From Newbigin’s experience he witnessed sudden collapses. An entire continent once thought its mission was to bring civilization to the rest of the world now seemed to come to the place where religion once a vehicle of enculturation was pressed to the edges, marginalized. He notes the disconnect between the world of the individual and the “real” world in which people live and move. The dualism created by these two places of living sent people spiraling toward a nihilism void of real purpose. Exploring the real world placed a distant second to, “Who am I?”

Listening to missionaries in Western Europe seemed to evidence Newbigin’s description. Missing from Western Europe are the stories of widespread evangelization. Rather than a vibrant house church movement or the existence of a strengthening Christian movement noted in the global south, these missionaries face the difficult task of offering a voice from the margins. We pastors who spent the week in Barcelona sense the setting here in the States is not dissimilar.

Speaking from the margins reminds me of Father Richard Rohr’s article that forms the title of this blog, “The Edge of the Inside.” It may well be time to explicate just why I chose this for a title.

To my new friends, let’s learn together how to live the way of Jesus from the margins for the glory of God and the blessing of the world. I will be looking to learn from you.