Archive for May, 2011

what are we doing?

May 24, 2011 8 comments

As I watched another 150+ World Racers lift their hungry hearts and hands to receive a touch of the Spirit for empowerment, I had an ugly thought:  What are we (the church) doing to equip the saints for the work of service?  It was the first time for most of them to remotely consider the possibility that they needed more in hand than a few memorized Bible verses, a few gospel tracts and the Jesus film.  Nothing wrong with any of that, but if that is all you got, your opportunities and methodology has severe limitations.

Would a young man marry the woman of his dreams only to embrace her as friend and wife but ignore the “lover” side of her?  I’m around young men and that is an utterly ridiculous question.  They will not be denied any aspect of their queen… especially that one!  But, it appears to me that too much of the church does this to the Holy Spirit, on a regular basis.  Often we see the third person of the Trinity as just another option on the table, much like the orange jello at the end of a gigantic buffet.  Take it or leave it.  It makes no difference to the overall outcome of the dining experience.  I know, I know, it can’t be ALL Holy Spirit either!  Balance is good and best for the overall mission of the church.   If that is true, we have to have relationship with the person of the Holy Spirit.  It is not balance to count the gifts of the Spirit as taboo, excessive, dried up, for another time, or irrelevant to Christian living.  It feels blasphemous to me that we are so intentional in minimizing the works of the Holy Spirit.

Seeing again, what I saw yesterday, gives me hope!  Another batch of kids who acknowledge Jesus, declare the love of the Father, and ask for the power of the Spirit to bring heaven to earth!  I expect they will.  I know they will.


Categories: Uncategorized

faith is faith is faith

May 17, 2011 4 comments

This is too good not to post.  I’m a big fan of Franciscan Richard Rohr.  This was my meditation for today:

Knowledge of God cannot be proven, processed, reasoned, justified or legitimated.  This God-knowing and God-energy always risks being misunderstood (as God also risks) and risks being misinterpreted (as God puts up with) and even risks being not appreciated (as God also feels).

To live in faith—which is to live with God—one has to risk looking and feeling like nothing—nothing that can be possessed, bargained for, developed, controlled, sold, bought, measured, merited, applauded, or even rightly communicated.  Faith, finally, is beyond the world of power, function and purpose.

I must say it or I would deny the entire history of faith from Abraham to Jesus to Francis of Assisi to our own Donny Flowers and Erwin Wolke:  Faith is beyond any reasonable and objective process that even good people can devise.  There is no community program or structure, no matter how perfect or how much we own it or invest in it that will ever make biblical faith unnecessary.  Faith is faith is faith… and God can only be known by faith (see Romans 3-5).  I wonder why religious people so easily forget that?

Faith is finally to stand in nothingness, with nothing to prove and nothing to protect, knowing itself in an ever-alive charity that urges us to surrender, to let go, to give away, to hand over, to forgive, to walk across, to take no offense, to trust another, to lose oneself—while being quite sure that we are to find ourselves afterwards.

A consumer-oriented, functional and materialistic age finds faith almost impossible.  We want religion, but we surely do not want faith.  Because faith is nothing, the faithful person is a nobody.  In our shallow culture, trust is called naïveté.   Forgiveness always looks like being soft and conceding to the enemy—even speaking the truth will not win you any votes or look patriotic on the evening news.  Faith is nothing in this age and culture.  Faith has always been nothing.   

from “Image and Likeness:  The Restoration of the Divine Image”

Yet, it is the door to all spiritual reality.


Categories: Uncategorized

turf wars? really?

May 9, 2011 6 comments

Jamie’s blog (Jamie The Very Worst Missionary) messed with me.  Not in a bad way, but not in a pleasurable way either.  I do not think these are isolated emotions exclusive only to the mission field.  This is rampant thought throughout the Body of Christ.  She called it a turf war.  Really?   A turf war inside of Kingdom culture?  Frik!  Let’s cut the BS and call it what it is:  C O N T R O L.  Yes, we have issues with control.  No matter how tactfully we dress it with our spiritual vernacular, our rejection issues will not allow us to let go of control.  It manifests in so many ways we can’t even begin to see that the problem is “me” anymore.  We seem to just continue on our path, attempting to micro-manage everyone and everything around us.  Trust is the last thing we got going for us.  We default constantly to paradigms about how to “fence” in, “lock” in, “rope” in and “guarantee” who is with us, for us or on our side.  Maybe, if I thought this was all in the best interest of those we’re roping in, I’d be willing to soften this a bit, but I’m not convinced.  I think we’re afraid we are not going to get what we want, so we set up systems to insure and medicate our paranoia.  We do this crap because we can’t trust Him and the only way to calm our thirst for power and control is to set up ways to steward what is “mine”.  Even parental love goes sour if it doesn’t have a healthy release mechanism in place.  The controller and the controlled are both unhealthy.

I’m sure some will be offended by this notion, but even the institutional church finds it very difficult to trust.  We make sure that everyone believes what we believe before you can belong.  Then once you believe properly, we allow you to be a member.  Then once you’re a member you can hang around long enough for us to begin to trust you.  Once we trust you, we’ll think about releasing you to do what you do.  If you do it good enough, we’ll even love you, but, only if you’ll promise to stay and get on board with our agenda.  Change your mind about anything on that list and we are done.  Oh, you can attend and we’ll keep you on the rolls, but that will be the extent of it.  I don’t think these are just sour notions from a guy who once got kicked out of a church he was an official “member” of and was actually called to serve.  I’ve been around.  I know it’s pissy and condescending, but some of it is also too close for comfort.  Jamie is right, saying this stuff does make you feel like a douche.  The sheep are usually clueless about the game, but those of us pulling the strings behind the curtain are very well aware and guilty.  I have a hard time believing that He is ok with any of this silliness.

That famous passage and very kewl song begins with, “There is an appointed time for everything.   And there is a time for every event under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1, NAS.  What that tells me is that our time of influence with anyone, under any circumstance, is short-lived, temporary, and a blip on their radar in comparison with what God might have for them over a lifetime.  Season’s come and go like the flame of a single match.  Even Jesus had to let go of his season on earth.  Hanging up there, looking down at us, He knew that we had the capacity for choice and He was going to trust us to make our choices.  There was absolutely no control involved whatsoever!  Our God was resolved with the methodology that some would “get it” and would in turn give it freely to some who freely received.  The Kingdom would advance by the meek, selfless and faith-full.  There have always been those who would take things by force.  Jesus took nothing by force (at least not the force we’re accustomed too anyway).  So we have to choose.  Will we trust those we steward or disciple to follow for a season, or will we continue to build and pour into our false self ego and twisted sense of security?  Time will tell, but some things need to change right now.  God help us to change our mind and methods of how we relate, steward, disciple and live together.  How do we embrace without holding?  Most traps are built for easy access and difficult exit.  I am certain that Kingdom relations are not to be conducted this way.


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