Friday, June 29, 2012

SP767 Day 5

There is no such thing as failure, just new learning experience.

Do not give your heart to what will not satisfy your heart.

On discernment: "My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.  I do not see the road ahead of me.  I cannot know for certain where it will end.  Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.  And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.  I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.  And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.  Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.  I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone." -Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

Thursday, June 28, 2012

SP767 Day 4

In a pastoral encounter, what heals? The information conveyed or the human contact?

All learning has to finish with the question "so what?"

Little children do not have feelings. They are feelings.

We are (as pastors) are in a profession where intimacy is an integral part of, so it is common and unavoidable that we will run into boundary issues. Thus, be extra cautious.

It is not "Jesus and me" and "Jesus and us". It is not "I am in Christ" but "we are in Christ."

There are different types of experiences and we all experience God differently. There is not one right way experience God.

In our culture, we appreciate "feeler" more than "thinker" when talking about experience.

When you listen, listen to what is said as well as what is not said.

In temptation, you have said a hundred "yes" before you get to that fatal "yes".

The reason we don't sin more is not because we lack the ability but we lack the opportunity.

If the church is the target of the devil's attack, the pastor's heart is the bull's eye.

Do not use the word "cannot" unless it is absolutely accurate. ("I can't come" usually is just "I won't come". If you won't, don't say you can't because you actually can.)

Stop assuming people have common sense.

"I do not mean to slander them, just that their theology is not something that the Lord has lead me to embrace."

Cultivate the difficult, but necessary art of empathetic detachment so you are available but not “available.”

Boundary violation is gratification for yourself at someone else's expense.

Pastors need to take good care of themselves because they have less people to take care of them.

Women in our culture are trained to distrust their distrust and to be nice ("I know there is something wrong but I don't want to hurt his feeling"), and that puts them in a lot of potential dangers and harms.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

SP767 Day 3

Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible. -C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, "Retrospect"

“The first duty of love is to listen.”  -Paul Tillich

"I am human, nothing human is alien to me." -Terentius

I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work. - Henri Nouwen

Effective mentors are proactive listeners. Listen to them before they even speak.

Sunday morning in the church lobby is where you can only neglect everyone. You cannot assume any meaningful and focused conversation can happen because there are too much distractions.

We have to live with the discomfort of being finite.

Listening is hard because it involves a loss of control.

Everyone of us is vulnerable and have the right to defend ourselves, but we don't need to do it destructively. There is a difference between defending and being defensive.

Transformation is messy and time consuming.

An unanswered question is a fine traveling companion.  It sharpens your eyes for the road. -Rachel Naomi Romer

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SP767 Day 2

Mentors are not there to solve problems. Mentors need to know what they cannot do.

If you need to refer someone to a professional, it is better to send him/her to a good atheist than a bad Christian.

The only thing that is worse than no mentoring is bad mentoring.

As pastor we are no better than the people we serve. We are only set apart for some specific functions.

Every encounter is not between the 2 same persons from last time.

When mentoring, we have to let go of our prejudice towards our mentee accumulated from past meetings with him/her, and we have to let go of our desire for him/her to do what we want him/her to do.

Mentors should always be looking for ways to ask who you are and who do you intend to be. -Walter Wright, Mentoring

Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak. “Is the life I am living the same as the life that wants to live in me?”

Most problems in ministry arise from issues of character.

I am not ashamed to admit that I am ignorant in what I do not know. - Cicero

Surrender as much of yourself as you understand, to as much of God as you understand. -Sam Shoemaker

We model character, not just by being perfect but also by struggling.

There are people that we will not be the best mentor of. We have our limitations.

Never fail, whatever may befall you, be it good or evil, to keep your heart quiet and calm in the tenderness of love. -St. John of the Cross

Be their example, not their legislator. Be a healer by getting well.

The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there. -L. P. Hartley

Do not prefer your leisure to the need of the church. -St. Augustine

How we pray reveals how we think about God. Our prayer is our theology.

We cannot remain Christian without Christians.

A brother asked Abba Matoes: What shall I do? My tongue causes me trouble, and whenever I am among people, I cannot control it and I condemn them in all their good deeds and contradict them. What, therefore, shall I do? The old man answered him: If you cannot control yourself, go away from people and live alone. For this is a weakness --- Those who live together with others ought not to be square, but round, in order to turn toward all. Further, the old man said: I live alone not because of my virtue, but rather because of my weakness. You see, those who live among people are the strong ones. -Sayings of the Desert Fathers

Mentoring can be painful. When you ask a question, are you really willing to listen to their "stuff"?

SP767 Day 1

In his essay Distance and Relation (1950) Martin Buber wrote: We wish to be confirmed in our being by another person, and we wish to have a presence in the being of the other. ...secretly and bashfully we watch for a Yes which allows us to be and which can come to us only from one human person to another. It is from one person to another that the heavenly bread of self-being is passed. (emphasis mine)

Amma Synkletika (Egypt, died 400 AD): It is perilous for a person to teach who has not first been seasoned by personal experience.  For if someone who owns a shabby house invites guests there, he endangers them by his neglected building.  It is the same situation for someone who has not first built an inner abode.  He causes danger to those who visit.  By words one may convert them to salvation, but by bad personal conduct, one injures them.

Johannes Tauler (1300-1361): “An unfaithful spiritual director is like a bad hunting dog.  Instead of bringing the rabbit to its master, it devours the rabbit itself.”

Generally speaking, if you want to know who you really are as distinct from who you like to think you are, keep an eye on where your feet take you.  (Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A theological ABC.)

“As I am a beginner myself, I will assume that you are also beginners, and we will try to begin together” (Anthony Bloom. Beginning to Pray)

“We do not want to be beginners.  But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners all our life” (Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer)

We never assume we know how to mentor people, no matter how much experience you have.

Realize that the Holy Spirit is always the primary mentor. We are just the instrument through which He works.

Beware of techniques. It is not about techniques and practices. It is all about relationship.

We are mentoring all the time. People are looking at us.

Our biggest mistake is trying to be more spiritual than God.

Programs are for serving the person, not the reverse.

Do not preach to the congregation that you wish you have. Preach to the congregation in front of you.

You are the key to the healthy church. Healthy church can only be led by healthy leaders.

None of us is fit for ministry. But God use broken vessel for everything.

We can be who are are and different at different times without compromising our authenticity.

The mind is a dangerous neighbourhood, don't go there alone.

Do not offer what you are not ready to give.

  • 正如林一峰話齋,閱讀,也是一種 state of mind。
  • 所以不限文字,還有聲音影像一切雜崩能東西,都在涉獵反思消化乾坤大挪移之列。
  • 看重的只有一個字:Insight


I work at Westside Baptist Church. Of course, that doesn't mean they agree with everything I post or link here. Everything here is my personal opinion and is not read or approved in advance. Consider yourself warned.