Friday, January 06, 2006

Hatching Eggs in a Dingy at Sea

Recently, I’ve been grappling with church, life, discipleship, and integrating ministry to the whole of my life. This is a good thing.

I hope to begin posting again soon; however, I often find I need seasons of wrestling to sort things out. Sometimes I feel a tinge of guilt over less frequent posting. After all, I do want The Village Muse
to be a place others frequent to enjoy; yet, I do not think (unfortunately) I will ever find myself lingering long in the camp of those bloggers who post daily. And, for me this is OK.

My wrestling, these days at least, seems not to be with God or His will per se; for, He most certainly has my heart and I’ve been to the “woodshed” of Hebrews 12 often enough to cherish surrender and His embrace over rebellion and loving discipline. No, today I wrestle with what to do with the hurt I feel over seeing pain, loss, and damage in the lives of those around me who struggle and suffer, often needlessly, due to their own choices and the choices of others whilst we as the body of Christ seem pleased to insulate ourselves from those who suffer in need of hope.

I know there is a better way for Christ has spoken into the melee and that you and I (His church) are light bearers of the reality of His life and incarnation; yet, it seems we often choose to be uninvolved. Worst yet, we even, at times, opt to be
unloving, adulterous, spec picking and plank-eyed (Matt 7:3-5) in our tone and actions rather than behave as the beloved bride of a very loving, holy, and worthy of whole-life and being worship Bridegroom - who is Christ. If we are to be light in the darkness, then much about our present Christianity is not OK.

At the root of the struggle may be my own desperation and continuing reformation. I truly love His bride-second only to Him. In fact, I do not shirk from being named among her ranks. Moreover, I labor long, hard and joyfully (most of the time at least) to see her grow. I rejoice when she loves as Christ loves and cringe- even grieve with a gut wrenching groan- when she chooses to go her own hurtful way and damage the grain in the fields that are “white unto harvest” (Luke 10:2) whilst missing the aim of her Maker and Builder. I believe she is, in part, preoccupied with selfish- even empty- pursuits.

Often, she seems to be enamored with the shininess of her sickle or scythe whilst gathering together with others to impress themselves with the latest “mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the most comfortable of all” bride-growth strategy and in-the-field, work avoiding twaddle for appearing to harvest without tilling the soil or breaking a sweat or noticing the grain.

I don’t mind the discomfort and the struggle because accepting an unexamined or second hand Christian existence does nothing to further an honest life. Moreover, an honest Christian life is too important to half-heartedly pursue. The stakes are just too high and the potential losses are simply too great.

A Michael Yaconelli quote that comes to mind in recent days is “Desperate people don't do well in churches. They don't fit, and they don't cooperate in the furthering of their starvation. 'Church people' often label 'desperate people' as strange and unbalanced. But when desperate people get a taste of God, they can't stay away from him, no matter what everyone around him thinks.' " Michael Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality

Am I willing – are we the church willing- to seek God for a broken heart to move us to continually abandon selfish ambitions and be a part of His heart and will to “heal the brokenhearted” (Luke 4:18-19)? Too often, I think not.

If I look at much of the present church, it seems we want very little of God and a great deal more of self-fulfillment. Alas, that may be a subject for another day. For now, I must be about taking up my own “cross daily” and remaining a participant in the spiritual formation of others- whom God loves.

If a church or groupings of churches in the church (catholic/universal) of any culture seem content to sail headlong into what may be a misguided –even if well intended- direction towards impending irrelevance and anemia whilst propping up structure for structure’s sake, I grieve and care; nonetheless, I’m unwilling to lend a hand in re-arranging the superficial – even if cherished- chairs as the ice berg of a wake up call approaches. I prefer to be about repentance and reformation, instead. These are the treatments that seem needed.

If we can liken much of our cultural and religious (a contrast to scriptural, modeled, described, or prescribed) practices to “sacred cows”, I’m ready to lower a much smaller dingy into the throes of the sea and make a boatload of most excellent hamburgers for you and for me with the hope of presenting them-you see- to Christ (with all of the adequacy of a lad with “ loaves and fishes”) for the sake of His loved ones and love sparked quest.

”It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” C.S. Lewis

Last I checked hatching requires a struggle and time in the right conditions. Nonetheless, a disciple of Jesus I seek to be and to be so in the context of others- all others – including those who seek the same. The rub is, I’m simply no longer willing to tread lightly as if upon the “eggshells” of cultural Christianity to make it so.

So, don’t be impressed but don’t be surprised. This little dingy has sailed and there’s room for more. Truthfully, there are many who have already set sail. In fact, a splendid regatta precedes leaving shore. So, sacred cows…look out. You’re not the target but stay out of the path of ministry – or better yet- join in. Oh, that’s right. I forgot. You probably won’t notice… too many chairs…too many meetings…so little time.


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