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re-re-re… July 30, 2007

Posted by peterong in Ministry Update.
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After spending a weekend checking out matrix trilogy on HDTV (oh my such eye candy, my pupils are on the verge of cavities), the two sequels were “Re-loaded” and “Re-volutions.” i re-flected on the the “re’s” in my life. In many ways, this new season of life is being “re-newed” and I am going to “re-visit” and “re-flect” on this transition. In so many ways, I going through moments of ambivalence…excitement because a new chapter of ministry is on the horizon and also deep withdrawal from my old haunt at the Chinese Christian Herald Crusades. But as I conducted the Herald Youth Center staff development, I felt I was instilling in them a great confidence that God can do mighty things through the team.

This week has been an amazing one as I met Christine at Habitat for Humanity New York. I was so blessed by her vision for faith and poverty that it took me the rest of the day to unpack some of the things she shared. I am hoping to develop a core vision for engaging in social justice and the Asian American church. Part of that journey is to learn and to also act. I working with OneHouse again this year and hoping that through our conversation we develop a deeper sense of what it means to seek a diasporic expression of our faith communities.

Speaking of engagement, if you have not done so already, Tim Keller is part of the Gospel Coalition and has a list of interviews here that are invaluable to those pilgrims seeking to engage culture and faith. I had an impromptu opportunity to share about this at Grace Faith Church Young Career Fellowship this past Friday. I had dinner with my good friend Andy (who I happen to think is one of the best preachers out there) and he asked me who do I think is the best re-flection of “emergent” or engaged preachers out there…and after two heartbeats I unequivocally said “Tim Keller.” I don’t think that there has been anyone who has been a greater influence to my faith and ministry as much as this Redeemer Presbyterian pastor.

Things are pretty exciting and Jamie is coming back in less than two weeks! I am so excited to live out this new season as we serve together in this new season. I will be coming on with PaLM full-time in January and looking forward to build on the momentum of what God is doing through this ministry. I am speaking at Christian Testimony Long Island at their Summer Retreat. I will be speaking in the evening sessions and also doing a workshop on intergenerational relationships. It is something that runs deep in my heart. I am prepping also for September retreat with Boston Chinese Evangelical Church. I had a great and challenging exchange with one of their pastoral staff about engaging faith in the lives of the congregation and was touched by the depth of re-flection that came out of that email exchange. I will be also prepping my talk at the Chinese Missions Conference in December where it is considered the “Chinese Urbana.” I will be giving a talk on the youth track.

Things are coming along and I love serving and learning. There are so many saints out there doing great work and I am so amazed that we are participating in this wondrous work. This amazing extension of His mercy.

will write soon about my thoughts…

sorry for the pause July 20, 2007

Posted by peterong in Reflections.
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after much nudging and reminders from friends and church folk that my blog is a source of much misplaced affections for me (since access is “limited” to me”). I have been on a hiatus because I have been transitioning back to NYC with tons of boxes of books that need to be reorganized and reshelved and somehow going to be resold on half dot com. Transitioning has been a lot harder than I thought and my time in the ‘cuse still haunts me and living in the urban rhythms still have me staggered at times. So between speaking at summer retreats (four, yes, four retreats and two major retreats in the fall), unpacking, actually going out to do laundry (a first for me), transitioning out of my time at Chinese Christian Herald Crusades and finding a new ministry to serve has got me all twisted that unwinding to share my thoughts in the blog world has been a bit unrealized.

So, I am back in the blogsphere, wondering who is reading this and still I am somewhat self contained since the wife is in China working a water project in Nanjing. I want to write more but there are times I want to just listen, to get reconnected with friends. To collide with my past and memories of people who have long faded but now reappear (via facebook).

I am leaving behind a season of my life in ‘Cuse that I discovered and gave me tremendous insight on how ugly the church can be. It taught me to preach on rhetoric versus reality. How appointed servants use what Mclaren calls “motivation via exclusion” and yet, at the end, I found a fellowship among a few people who laughed at our shortcomings, who never took ourselves seriously but yearning to take our faith seriously. A place where lives were seen as relational and not just functional to what they can contribute to the church. It gave me so much insight and now I preach on this and it has been so impactful to those who have been so damaged by the church and its pretenses. I show them that we all have these inclinations of being a community of ungrace and that we and must realize there is hope.

I think I am becoming so much more humble in this time. Realizing more that I have so little control over my outcome. I am sitting on layered bed (a futon under my mattress to save space) and hearing the sounds of trucks and honking automobiles, preparing to do work developing the Laity Ministry for the Asian American church. Discovering how much I love God, how much I miss my wife, how much God has provided for me through friends and circumstances. There is a part of me that is so excited and also dread the reality of ministry…it is hard but so beautiful when things “click.”

Thank you friends for poking me to write…there is great comfort in this exchange…and yes

i miss you guys too.