If life in general is an adventure, then life with our missional God is an adventure with purpose! Here’s just a quick update on some of the twists and turns since writing you last.
Boy Gets Married!
Christian, our only begotten son, got married in September. Janice and I are ecstatic to have welcomed our new daughter-in-law, Shanae, to the inner circle. Congrats to the newlyweds!
In other news, Zoey decided to take a year off from North Park University so she can attend the Greek Bible College in Athens, Greece. We fully expect a Bible scholar to return to us next May. In October, I had the privilege of taking part in our granddaughter’s dedication at Berkeley Covenant Church. We couldn’t be prouder of Candace and Edwin, who are raising their kids up in the ways of the Lord. Corrie has made good on her promise to return to the Bay Area after her college graduation, as she works in an after-school program at a public middle school in Oakland. What would life be like without the kids and the grandkids?
We’re sad that this year will be the first since moving to Philadelphia that we will not be all together for Christmas (holiday airfare, be ^@#$!). As empty nesters, Janice and I miss our grown-up kids, even as we approvingly marvel from afar the way in which each of them is forging some pretty amazing adventures of their own.
Been to Korea, Going to the Philippines
In October, I went to Seoul, South Korea, to present a paper for the Stott-Bediako Forum. Named after great mission leaders John Stott and Kwame Bediako, both of whom recently passed on to glory, the Forum is aimed to carry on their legacy of engaging in holistic and contextual mission wrapped in deep theological reflection. It is sponsored by the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies based in Oxford, UK, and I was honored to have been invited to present a paper at this year’s Forum.
Janice and I are looking forward to going to the Philippines in January 2015. It will be Janice’s first time back since we left in 1998! We are excited about connecting with friends, old and new, over there. Asia Pacific Theological Seminary has invited me to deliver the William W. Menzies Lectureship, an annual event where the seminary community hears from a scholar about his or her work. This coming year, I’m it!
Micah Group-Philly—a diverse group of 14 ministers in the Philadelphia area who gather monthly to explore where mission, worship and preaching intersect—has commenced. We’ve met twice since I first told you about this exciting new venture. The hope is that we will all grow deeper in our own relationship with God and each other, as well as learn better how to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God” in our homes, our neighborhoods, our nation, and our world.
No Matter How Difficult the Issue, We Must Be “Oriented to Love”
The motto of Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA) is “on earth as it is in heaven: radical love made visible.” How does one live uncompromisingly as a follower of Jesus in a lost and broken world? We’re convinced that a crucial way to answer that question is to learn how to love unconditionally, even those we might deem as enemies. In October, ESA’s Kristyn Komarnicki facilitated the third Oriented to Love (OTL) dialogue, where 12 sisters and brothers in Christ from all over the country came together to learn the way of Love with one another amidst vastly different perspectives on the issue of sexual orientation. This is a ministry of loving dialogue around an extremely sensitive issue that the enemy of Love has used so effectively to divide the church. Please pray for us as we develop Oriented to Love dialogue training so that we can expand our reach across the country.
Thank you for “following us” and “liking us” the old fashioned way by reading this letter. Would you consider making an end-of-the-year contribution to the work of ESA? No amount is too small!
God’s best to you as you live out your adventure,
Al for Al, Janice, and the ESA family