UPDATE FROM THE IRISH MISSION PRESIDENT
22nd February 2018
"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." James 4:8a (ESV)
To be wise means to be aware of that which makes you who you are. In other words, to be sensible to the fact that which constitutes proximity shapes us somehow; that which we allow to be close to us influences the choices we make and the life we live. That's why we should never underestimate the impact of our immediate environment and its capacity to mould us.
T J Gorringe, in his book, The Education of Desire, agrees with Steven Miles that the religion of the beginning of the twenty-first century is consumer capitalism or consumerism. He writes, "Consumer capitalism possesses all the classical attributes of deity: omnipresence – saleswomen for Avon cosmetics target tribes in the Amazon; omniscience – we, and all our individual preferences, are logged on to its databases, which know to the scruple how much tea we drink and how much cheese we eat per week; and omnipotence, for 'can do' is its watchword. And in its ambitions and dreams it is infinite: it knows no limits."
This reminds me of the story of a spider that dropped a single strand down from the top rafter of an old barn and began to weave its web. Days, weeks, and months went by, and the web grew. It regularly provided the spider with food as its elaborate maze trapped flies, mosquitoes, and other small insects. The spider built its web larger and larger until it became the envy of all the other spiders. One day, as the spider travelled across its beautiful woven web, it noticed a single strand going up into the darkness of the rafters. "I wonder why this is here?", it thought. "It doesn't serve to catch me any dinner." And saying that, the spider climbed as high as he could and severed the single strand. The entire web slowly began to tumble to the floor of the barn, taking the spider with it.
God's distance, or better characterised, people's distancing from God is clearly preached by many social analysts. As people living in a post-modern society, we are encouraged to adopt the cosmopolitan virtue of ironic distancing. This encompasses a skeptical attitude towards the Bible and fundamental principles, and it encourages unquestionable tolerance and ideological/doctrinal compromise. Its foreseeable result is the establishment of 'thin' superficial and artificial relationships where we all are but strangers in the world.
Here, in the Irish Mission, we strive to seek a balance between graceful acceptance of 'the other' and faithfulness in that which we believe to be fundamental to the shaping of an enduring faith. Opposed to the popular attitude towards faith and God, we seek God's nearness; and we do so with the understanding that a relational proximity of the divine prevents us from the mistake of the proverbial spider that clipped the strand which ensured his survival. For what is staying close to God but the experience that ensures our remaining true to what it means to be human; the capacity to care enough to share that which can be consumed and satisfies all needs (John 4:14).
In our desire to continue to make God known within our territory, I invite you to support the following upcoming events on our calendar:
Loma Linda University Hospital will be hosting a mental health training/workshop for all life centre volunteers and health sponsors within the Irish Mission. We are still working on some of the details, but we can share the following with you:
The programme is scheduled to take place at the Tallaght Maldron Hotel in Dublin 24. The seminar will run from 4 pm - 9 pm on Friday, 9 March, and from 9 am - 4 pm on Sabbath.
CRM has largely been used with individuals and communities following natural or man-made disasters, and with populations marginalized by economic and ethnic challenges impacting on-going deprivation and violence. To date, CRM skills have been taught and applied world-wide in varied locations for these purposes, including but not limited to application in the United States, Philippines, Ireland, Guatemala, Haiti, China, Serbia, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Trinidad, Dominica, St. Vincent, Darfur, Uganda, Somalia, and the Ivory Coast.
Please e-mail Marci Neal to register or for more information.
21 & 28 April
Irish Mission wide screening of the Is Genesis History? movie.
The pastoral team, in a meeting at the end of last year, have earmarked 2018 as the year to focus on Creation and matters pertaining to faith and science. The screening of the above mentioned movie/documentary is a combined effort of most of the congregations in our territory to reach the community with a message of hope regarding both our origins and destiny. In preparation for this event, the Irish Mission pastors will have a debriefing meeting on the 6th of March with four of the foremost Christian scientists from Ireland and Great Britain.
The screenings will be followed by various programmes comprising of TED-style live-streamed talks, health expos, Bible presentations, and other events organized by the respective local churches. For more information on how you can be involved, contact your pastor.
Dublin Stewardship drive
Pr David Neal, TED Stewardship Director, will be returning to Dublin for a GC developed programme meant to follow on from the City of Hope and this quarter’s Sabbath School studies. Within the near future, the Dublin pastoral team (including the elders) will meet to discuss the layout and execution of this programme meant to comprise of talks, workshops and practical implementation.
Irish Mission Calendar
Please revisit the Irish Mission calendar – posted on our website – for all the other events planned for this year.