Welcome to my blog.  I look forward to exchanging thoughts.  A good underlying theme for this blog is contained in this verse:

I am a child of God.  God is my Father.
Heaven is my home.  Each day is one day nearer.
My Saviour is my Brother,
And every Christian is my brother and sister too.

Posted in Intros | Leave a comment

#6 – Clergy Retreat with Bishop Ed Salmon: Hope

God’s gracious presence is always there, no matter how dark things may seem, and therefore we can have hope.  We examined the Passion narrative in Mark 15, and noted the detail Mark gives concerning Simon who helped carry Jesus cross: he was the father of Alexander and Rufus.  Who were they?  They were evidently known to the early Church, and likely among the early disciples after Pentecost.  Even at that dark moment, God was preparing disciples for His Church.

We also noted that Jesus refused to drink the wine mixed with myrrh.  Why?  Because He had previously said “I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”  Again, even in this dark moment, the Resurrection was in view.  We need to stand on the preciousness of God’s love in Christ.  That is the basis of our hope, and we cannot have what we don’t believe.

Bishop Salmon also reminded us of the Parable of the Dishonest Steward whose commendable quality was his shrewdness.  Jesus would have us be shrewd and to practice ingenuity.  There is no circumstance in our ministry that is outside the providence of God.  Everyone who comes by us comes by way of the providence of God.  Bishop Salmon introduced us to a book: Raising the Dead – A Doctor Encounters The Miraculous.  The books is a witness to God’s providential action in our lives.

Bishop Salmon suggested that if we are not “red hot” in our ministry, perhaps we should consider getting a spiritual director to help us recover the fire that brought us into this ministry in the first place.

We have a marvellous ministry, rooted in God’s love for us in Christ Jesus.  What are we doing about it?

Posted in Bishop Salmon 2010, Retreats | Leave a comment

#5 – Clergy Retreat with Bishop Ed Salmon: Headship

Our leadership is defined by the nature of Jesus’ headship.  He is the Head of the Body, giving purpose and direction to the rest of the Body while not doing every task that is required of the Body.

Consequently we ask ourselves:  Am I doing things that I don’t need to do?  Whom do I have who can do certain things better than I can?  We were reminded of the story of Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro, who reminded Moses of the necessity of sharing the work of leadership while remaining the head.  Headship needs to be a presence that is enhanced by the things in which you naturally major, while not neglecting the other things that are important.

Some advice from Bishop Salmon:

  • Don’t ask for volunteers, or you may get the wrong person for the job.  Rather, specifically ask the person you see as particularly fit for the task.
  • God is not interested in renewing everything.  Some things ought not to be renewed, especially if their reason for beginning was not based on Gospel principles.
  • People invariably experience change, even good change, as loss.
  • Develop a vision for outreach.

As goes the leadership, so goes the Parish or congregation.  No Parish has ever risen above the level of its leader.  Therefore, we must stay in touch with who we are and what our needs are, otherwise the things of which we are unaware will be projected on others.

Posted in Bishop Salmon 2010, Retreats | Leave a comment

#4 – Clergy Retreat with Bishop Ed Salmon: Mammon

Our conversation this evening was all about the Church’s relationship with money, and each Christian’s relationship with the same.  The Bible gives money the name “Mammon”, the false god.  Consequently because money, or Mammon is one of the “powers”, one of the “gods”,  it’s subjugation is crucial, for if it is allowed it will displace the Lord God Almighty in our lives, and we will be owned by it and it’s system.  The first commandment –“Thou shalt have no other gods before me”–is pertinent here.  If we do not take proper care, either we will desire to hold on to money, or desire to have more of it, or become despondent because we don’t have it.  Either way, it will exercise control over the person or Church who let’s it, and it will suck the life out of us.

We need to ask the question: What place has money assumed in my life and our lives?  Is it a resource offered to God and managed in our lives through the Holy Spirit?  Or is it doing the managing?  And to return to our first theme: how does our attitude towards money affect our relationship with God and our neighbour?  How is money’s tendency to dominate blocking our vision of what God would have us accomplish for Himself?

But here’s the opportunity: if there is a problem with money, what a marvellous opportunity to talk about the principles of the Kingdom of God!

Posted in Bishop Salmon 2010, Retreats | Leave a comment

#3 – Clergy Retreat with Bishop Ed Salmon: Biblical Foundations And A Community Of Trust

The afternoon session was quite direct.  Knowing the Bible is essential to coming to understand what it means to live in a community where trust is the norm.  Trust is not something that is earned.  Trust is something that is given.  Jesus trusts us, even though he knows we will betray Him.  However, His trust in us enables us to discover how to be trustworthy.  Trust is a gift we need to offer one another.  Taking risks and speaking the truth in love is essential to a healthy system, essential to the Church’s health.

But how else are we going to come to know who Jesus is and what Kingdom living looks like if we do not know the Bible?

Posted in Bishop Salmon 2010, Retreats | Leave a comment

#2 – Clergy Retreat with Bishop Ed Salmon: Systems

Our second conversation with Bishop Salmon concerned the existence of systems.  Relationships are systemic.  The Gospel is systemic.  Systems are an interconnection of relationships, and any relationship affects the whole system.  We are reminded of St. Paul’s picture of the ChurSt. Peter's Nave Windowch as a Body under the Headship of Christ.  And as St. Paul said, there is a way in which each member of the body properly working together with the other members of the body brings wholesomeness and health.

Bishop Ed reminded us that habit creates a blindness to the nature of the systems of which we are a part.  Systems relate to family life, marriage, parishes, business, anywhere that human beings live and work.  The Gospel tells us that our systems are broken and that Jesus has come to restore them to wholeness.  Christ’s Body is broken, and His work and our work is to build up the body of Christ by working toward the body’s restoration.  Who is God?  God is the One who brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, and raised Jesus from the dead!  In light of that, what would God like to do with us?

In practical terms, this means that we, first of all, need to be aware of the systems in which we have leadership.  If we aren’t aware of the nature of these systems, these systems will own and victimize us.  Secondly, we need to practice ways of shining light upon the dysfunctions of our relationships and systems in order that wholeness may be regained.  You have to name the demon in order to cast it out!

However, we need to do this in a way that is not the “giving of information”, but rather a “shining of the light” upon our life together.  How does one shine the light without causing a fight?  It takes practice.  But to shine the light will enable change to happen.

Last of all, Bishop Salmon suggested that if we are to confront someone, we must first of all faithfully and deeply love them and care about them, and they must know this.  With that fundamental trust in place, meaningful, truthful conversation can happen.  If that love and care is not in place, it would be better to say nothing!

Of course, the Holy Spirit is not limited by our limitations in being able to see clearly.  The Holy Spirit can teach us through our mistakes!  But let us at least aim to make as much as possible of ourselves available to the Holy Spirit for His work.

Open my eyes, that I may see
glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!

Posted in Bishop Salmon 2010, Retreats | Leave a comment

#1 – Clergy Retreat with Bishop Ed Salmon: Relationships

I’m writing this from St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, Saskatchewan, where the clergy of the Anglican Diocese of Saskatchewan are having their annual clergy retreat.  I wanted to share some of the basic themes of Bishop Salmon’s conversations with us.  I make one caveat in my reflections on our time with Bishop Salmon:  these are my thoughts which may or may not accurately reflect what Bishop Salmon has said.  The reponsibility for what I write here remains entirely with me!

That said, in our first conversation with Bishop Salmon he impressed upon us the view that the thing which needs to inform everything we do in the Church is captured in the word “relationships“.  The importance of relationship begins with the fact that God the Holy Trinity is a relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Secondly, Jesus came to restore our relationship with God.  The whole bible is a record of God’s relationship within Himself, and His relationship with us.  It is that for which we are built.

But Bishop Salmon reminded us that to leave it with that concept is not enough.  What we need as a Church is to “in practice” measure everything we do against the standard of relationships, relationships as they have been defined by God in Jesus Christ.  Do our relationships measure up to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we profess?  “No one every learns from experience,” he quoted. “Rather, we learn from reflecting upon experience.  In other words, apply the principle in real-life situations.  Keep asking the question: “Does this thing that we do, or this way that we do things accurately reflect the relationship we are called to in the Gospel?

He considers there to be no good reason for the Church’s decline, for if the Church is in fact embodying living relationships in God, lived in the way that God intends, it will be impossible to keep people from coming through the doors!

People generally don’t realize their need for Jesus as Saviour because they aren’t aware of the absolute importance of relationships.  But when you shine the light upon the brokeness of relationships, and are a model of healthy relationships, the Church becomes wonderfully attractive.

Posted in Bishop Salmon 2010, Retreats | Leave a comment