Becoming Chris Kamalski

"There's a Writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us" ~Don Miller

Tag: David Bosch

I Am A Christopagan.

My most recent musing at Metamorphablog.com:

I am a Christopagan.

A clip:

So much of my heart would prefer other things than God, and the journey of walking with Him today. My short list as I type would include: sleep, a Chipotle burrito + Dr. Pepper (sadly absent from the African continent), a nicer cell phone, the reading of a spiritual classic (possibly some Merton would satisfy the soul this morning?), and many other things.  I momentarily (in my best days) embrace the person of Christ in my soul with any sense of whole-heartedness.  I don’t write this in a spirit of condemnation or self-flagellation, but in reality.  This is the nature of my heart, even as a man restored in Christ and living in freedom!

The Week That Was: March 26th-April 1st, 2009.

Jealousy is the only appropriate option.  NCSA Men's Trip to the Drakensberg Mountains, departing in 5 hours!Jealousy is the only appropriate option. NCSA Men’s Trip to the Drakensberg Mountains, departing in 5 hours!

Going to cheat y’all a bit and write this in short-phrase style, as I am up WAY TOO LATE prior to our Men’s Trip, which leaves in 5 hours.  Images, video, and actual thoughtful posts coming next week!

The Week That Was: Wed and Thurs the Apprentices went to Jo’Burg and stayed at Curtis’ parent’s Guest House, which smelled like fresh paint but was amazingly accomodating and fun!  We enjoyed 1/2 price pizza and fine ales at Curtis’ local joint, Jolly Rogers.  Then headed to an outdoor lounge area for our first taste of South African jazz.  Listened to a funky combo group for about 90 minutes.  Thurs had another fantastic David Bosch discussion (Click here for my thoughts) and left deeply challenged about the missional nature of the church.  Fri was a blur to me right now–Oh, what am I saying?  Colletta Cole and I co-lead our Friday Night Rhythm gathering, and basically provided a means for our entire community to check-in with each other.  Then we headed to Lorraine’s for the weekend, and spent 48 hours on a silent retreat that officially ‘ended’ our Listening Posture.  I’ll blog on this later, and have some hard things that I wish to share regarding my own journey–but I’m not finished yet!  Fall seemed to come this past weekend, and I spent Saturday afternoon laying in the grass watching leaves whisk to the ground all around us.  There is a briskness to the morning air which I love!  Monday was an exhausted blur which I don’t remember.  Tuesday was spent having our community ROCKED by Rob Bell’s Tour DVD entitled ‘The Gods Aren’t Angry.‘ I had a visceral response to his message of grace, in which he repeatedly stated “You don’t have to live this way anymore.”  Yes I do!  Grace doesn’t mean I actually let go of all my structures and means of saving myself, does it? (Sarcasm alert!)”  Still reeling.  Finalized plans with Luc and Petunia Kabongo to begin group spiritual direction with 23 NGO health care workers who carry grief and death daily in their medical work.  Will begin this after Easter, which I am anticipating greatly.  Today was a blur of chores, ‘gyming’ (A verb here!), and getting ready for our Men’s Excursion.  Going to be epic!

On My To-Do List This Week: Man Time.  Paintballing + Hiking + Settlers of Catan + White Water Rafting + Leaving Pangani = MUCH NEEDED ADVENTURE!

Procrastinating About: Going to bed, what else?

Books I’m In The Midst Of: Flying through The Shack with thoughts forthcoming.  Want to get into Barack Obama’s memoir  Dreams of Our Father to see the man behind the myth.  Have actually heard he is a pretty good writer!

On The Current iTunes Playlist: Been shuffling a lot now.  Digging the new Black Eyed Peas single “Boom Boom Pow,” which is the song of the Apprenticeship for us so far.

I’m Thinking About: Why don’t I have poor friends?  Would having poor friends be simply a societal experiment for me?  Am I truly that prejudiced? (Light, I know).

Next Trip: See picture above and wipe that drool off your face!

How I’m Feeling About This Week: Ready to check out, and hit the road.  Need an emotional vacation.

Prayer Request: Emotional vacation.

My Own Internal Reluctance.

“My Own Internal Reluctance.”

Falling from Tom Smith’s lips as a way of explaining his rationale in not engaging with poverty in a more profound way in his daily life, I sat in our second book discussion of David Bosch’s master work, Transforming Mission, profoundly disturbed by the searing truth of Tom’s words.  Have you experienced those brief moments when all becomes clear, as if your mind starts to order fragmented thought, flashes of desire, and your fleeting heart passions into one cohesive statement of fact?  The phrase above was that experience for me this morning.  

So much could be/should be reflected upon our shared conversations thus far, and I’m sure both myself and others will pour out their thoughts in the next few days, and throughout the course of this amazing discussion that is unfolding. We ‘attempted’ to unpack some of Bosch’s thoughts in terms of how Matthew’s theology of mission as shown through his writing, and (again) barely scratched the surface of Bosch’s masterful work.  I’ll follow up with further thoughts on the introduction and initial chapter on Matthew’s Gospel, as well as what we are diving into as we continue reading in Luke/Acts and Paul’s writing throughout the New Testament.

However, I don’t want to stray far from Tom’s initial phrase this evening.  In a wide-ranging, convicting discussion on the gospel, the nature of mission, and the integration of the poor and marginalized among us, my heart was laid bare by the honest admission above.  Questions that prevent me from sleeping easily tonight & desiring to turn off my heart in a sea of endless Internet surfing include the following:

  • Why am I not ‘doing more’ to engage the end of poverty in my world?  
  • Why have I allowed guilt, my own comfort and sense of security, and a healthy distance from ‘the poor’ (Even that label de-humanizes the people that this entails, exposing my continued, deeply rooted hypocrisy) to determine how I live?  
  • Why is there a sense in my heart that I am living in a ‘better way’ than those with ‘less’ than me?  
  • Why do I not have poor friends?  
  • Wouldn’t having ‘poor’ friends be nothing but a social exercise for me, something that further rounded out my personality?  
  • At my core, am I as deeply prejudiced as it seems?  
  • Why do these problems fall on my shoulders alone (at least, I make it out to be this way)?  
  • Is poverty a much deeper and more pervasive disease than pure material possession (including such things as poverty of spirit, purpose, family, hope, etc. as Curtis brilliantly pointed out tonight)?

The fact that I am rich beyond measure (Check out www.globalrichlist.com for a disheartening confirmation of this matter), and yet impoverished in so many other ways, is both disturbing and hopefully catalytic tonight.

One thought from Bosch:

It is unthinkable to divorce the Christian life of love and justice from being a disciple…To become a disciple means a decisive and irrevocable turning to both God and neighbor (Transforming Mission, pp. 81-82).

Another from Henri Nouwen:

Wherever I turn I am confronted with my deep-seated resistance against following Jesus on his way to the Cross and my countless ways of avoiding poverty, whether material, intellectual, or emotional (Spiritual Direction, p. 138).

Just to clarify, I’m speaking publicly to myself with these words, not in an effort to self-martyr, or to declare my own existential sense of goodness, but to call my own apathy out.  I love ideas in all forms, and yet am deeply aware that my ideas often do not become action, and therefore actualized reality that has power (infused hopefully by the Spirit’s work) to actually transform and heal.

In another of Tom’s haunting phrases, “I need a new conversion.”

Diverse Visions.

I got up early this morning to bust through a bunch of reading in Transforming Mission by David Bosch and stumbled headlong into the following short passage, which has literally stopped me in my tracks.  Compelled to stand up and find the nearest computer, I knew that I needed to post this immediately, as much for my own sake as possibly for yours, and for whatever is happening in your own world this morning:

The Holy Spirit who guides into all truth, may be present not so much exclusively on one side of a theological dispute as in the very encounter of diverse visions held by persons…who share a faithfulness and commitment to Christ and to each other. (Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commision, quoted in Transforming Mission, p. 24).

I am deeply challenged by this idea–that possibly, maybe even likely, the Holy Spirit doesn’t ‘care’ about what I believe as much as He is intricately woven into the relational fabric of developing unity between those who stand on ‘opposite’ sides, opposed deeply to each other.  And this leads me to thinking that maybe those who think  they are opposed may often have more in common than they would ever admit or realize.  This isn’t to say that all beliefs or positions are the same, or that there isn’t a sense of right and wrong within one’s position, but rather to ask:

“Is that really the point?”

May I embrace this reality, and the Spirit beneath this idea, with increasing openness this day. I am praying for you, my friends and family.  I love and miss you deeply!

ADDED PORTION:  Tyler Savage, a new friend from CRM Boat Trip days (way back in September 2008!), added a brilliant comment to this post that deserves recognition.  His thoughts:

In recent years, God has used a very different reference to trip me up on a similar line of thinking. In Lincoln’s second Inaugural address, speaking of the two sides in the Civil War, he said, “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. […] The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.” That quote threw me for a loop several years ago, and still does.