Hanging Out at Holland Village: La Nonna and Sunday Folks

Signature pizza, crab tomato cream linguine, La Nonna, 26 Lorong Mambong, Holland Village, Singapore
La Nonna, 26 Lorong Mambong, Holland Village, SingaporeThe 1-for-1 lunch promotion at La Nonna (Lorong Mambong, Holland Village) has drawn hungry students from the nearby National University of Singapore for some time. We had lunch with two of them this week, sharing the signature pizza (tomato, mozarella, asparagus, egg, parmesan, black truffle salsa), salmon e rucola pizza, and two crab linguine in tomato cream sauce.

Sunday Folks cafe, Chip Bee Gardens, 44 Jalan Mega Saga, Holland Village, Singapore

Sunday Folks cafe, Chip Bee Gardens, 44 Jalan Mega Saga, Holland Village, Singapore
Sunday Folks cafe, Chip Bee Gardens, 44 Jalan Mega Saga, Holland Village, Singapore
After the students headed back to school, two of us repaired to Sunday Folks (facebook, 44 Jalan Merah Saga) across the road for their weekday S$10 cake and coffee/tea set.

We were talking about how difficult it must be for pastors/ministers of churches not to show favouritism to the people who themselves treated these pastors/ministers well.

  1. Full-time Christian ministry is a tough job – long hours spent in the study understanding God’s word, more hours spent on your knees for the sheep, and then counselling many with relational/psychological/personal/godliness difficulties, and dealing with the line of people waiting after service to tell them what exactly they disagree with in the sermon or running of the church etc.
  2. So, spending all waking moments dealing with sinful humans could very well be immensely discouraging, and it isn’t surprising that many ministers suffer from depression.
  3. But, said the friend who had been diagnosed with clinical depression, the temptation is to then depend on other people, other humans, for love, support, approval. Sadly, because they too are sinful human beings living in this fallen world, they may betray you, disappoint you, or, even if they were a perfect companion for life, they might die on you (and here the friend cited the Lee Kuan Yew – Kwa Geok Choo partnership). Also: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:6)
  4. Unfortunately, positive thinking, or being thankful for the good things in one’s life falls flat as well – it feel stilted and artificial especially when you’re already very down, and sometimes, objectively, there just isn’t much good in one’s life!
  5. Much better to trust in One who is eternal (won’t die), and who is in control of all things (not impotent to help), and who loves us so much that he died for our sins (more than willing to help).

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:4-8)

 

Sunday Folks cafe, Chip Bee Gardens, 44 Jalan Mega Saga, Holland Village, SingaporeThe Sticky Toffee Cake was, as the name suggested, more spongy than the usual heavy-in-the-tummy sticky toffee pudding, and a good foil to the slightly over-extracted coffee.

flat white. Sunday Folks cafe, Chip Bee Gardens, 44 Jalan Mega Saga, Holland Village, Singapore

  • beans: Liberty Coffee‘s Speakeasy Blend
  • crema x microfoam: good
  • flavour x body: nutty and a little burnt
  • aftertaste: medium

Ministry through the Dark Night of the Soul

Photograph Thai vermicelli, Aperia food court by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px
Had a delightful dinner tonight. Dinner companion was someone suffering from clinical depression and on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), yet was able to see clearly how this condition made her depend on God, not as psychological crutch, but rightly, as creature on her Creator. Understanding this, she was able to rejoice even in the darkness.

Came upon an article on “the dark night of the soul” recently. While i may not agree with much of the explanation within, Ministry through the Dark Night very astutely describes what a certain very down period of my life (not amounting to clinical depression) felt like:

“So what is the dark night of the soul? It’s a time when God feels profoundly silent; a time when God feels hidden and inaccessible. Worship, prayer and other spiritual practices no longer deliver the same spiritual consolations that you used to receive. Faith practices begin to feel useless, at times empty, alienating, and even inauthentic. Scripture becomes flat and unappealing and the desire to pray or worship seems to have vanished. During the dark night you are no longer certain of what you know of God or even yourself. In the dark night you can feel helpless, unable to control or understand your spiritual life. While previously you could talk endlessly of your faith and love for God, now words fail. There seems to be no authentic expression for what you’re experiencing, for who or where God is.”

“And yet, despite the loneliness, despite the silence, you notice that sin has no appeal. At times you may want to return to old distractions and escapes, but you find your soul resists these temptations. In the dark night, a person can discover that despite the lack of any spiritual comfort, there remains within the soul a blind trust in God. You feel your faith (your practices, images, words, understandings) dissipating, and yet at the same time you have to admit, somehow your faith persists. Even when you become despondent and try to rid yourself of faith, still, without encouragement, your heart waits for God.”