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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Keith reflects on Doing and Being

There are several issues raised in this thread (entitled, 'doing, and not being').

The first is the issue of doing versus being. This is a big issue and it all has to do with balance. Eugene Peterson has a half day bushwalk every Monday in silence with his wife. A friend of mine gets up at 6 every morning to spend an hour with God. (She is exceptionable. It would never work for me.) Jesus goes off into the hills to pray when there is are obvious needs to be met. If you do too much doing and insufficient being, you'll end up with a breakdown. We need time on our own with God to recharge.

The second issue this raises for me is you seem to be expending a lot of energy on church. Is this wise? We only have one life to offer to God and therefore I think we need to reflect intentionally on where our effort ought to go. I find my gifts and energy are put to better use working outside the church most of the time. It all has to do with agendas. I find the agenda of most churches to be very limited. The question you have to ask yourself is "Is what I'm doing here sufficiently important to God to justify all this time and effort? Should the effort go elsewhere?" There are a few churches where real ministry is possible, but not many in my experience.

The third issue is to gently comment on Narjoy's reference to Mary and Martha. The interpretation that Narjoy has of this passage is the traditional one: Martha is the do-er, Mary is the be-er and Mary's choice is better. This misses the point of arguably the most radical passage in the Gospels. Jesus is teaching a woman at a time when it was against all the perceived wisdom. It is clear that he is teaching her as the Greek is very clear: The term translated "sat at his feet" is the same term that Paul uses when he said he "sat at the feet" of Gamaliel. It is a time when Jesus' contemprary rabbis said such things as: It is better to burn the law than teach it to a woman and that if you taught a woman the law you may as well be teaching her prostitutuion. Martha's main cincern is not that she's not getting help in the kitchen, but that Mary is not in the kitchen where she belongs.


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