Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Long and Winding Sojourn

The Long and Winding Road

As some might have surmised by my somewhat not so vague posts over the course of the last couple of months, during the past several years, our family has witnessed the dsyfunction, denial, and decline of a once fairly significant evangelical church. Over the past several months, this has declined into a rather gruesome church split, at our church home of 17 years. All of this has been agonizing to watch take place. My friend Mark Roberts has been recently blogging, not so indirectly, on the topic of Christian conflict. If you have ever experienced it, read this. Matter of fact bookmark the series, odds are, you are going to really need it someday. Blame it on the fall.

And so, I have been on a sojourn, if you will, of other churches. I have become the guy looking lost in the pew, rather than the well-connected leader in the congregation. Our family has been typically in several different places on Sundays, as we balance the needs of pre-teen and teenage daughters for meaningful Christian Education and fellowship. It has been a bit nutty, but we have maintained our sanity, our family and above all, our faith. We have seen a lot, and learned even more. Christ is faithful.

The ensuing months have made me do a LOT of thinking about what Christian lay involvement, leadership, and pastoral roles mean. To confess, I think I have had it wrong in many ways. I need a paradigm shift. As long as I can remember, there has been a part of me that has wanted to be one of the "key leader people"; which, in turn, has a lot to do with my needs for recognition. I am actually looking forward to the second half of my life, so that I can further flesh out what all this means, and what my paradigm shift in Christ means. Maybe this is why I now find myself more involved with Young Life - which really is grass-roots ministry to those in need.

Jesus was a servant to those closest to him, so should we be. He recognized the little people, the nearly invisible, and so should we. He cared for the unlovely, as should we. He spoke words of life and did completely unexpected and confusing things. He loved immensely and mysteriously. Perhaps I have spent far too much time the past 10 years or so involved, as an Elder (Homer Simpson voice: "note how I capitalize, I am Mr. Important") on church committees, working out my own needs for recognition. In retrospect and in reality, my reflection is that sometimes, not much tends to get done for the Kingdom in those settings. I need to refocus my priorities on the character of Christ. Pick up a towel. Offer a cool drink. Listen. Learn. Love. Live.
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