Monday, July 31, 2006

Facing Fear, Silent Sentinels

The photo at left is the place I sit, to camp off a neighbor's wireless, so that I can post here, while on vacation. I know, I need to get a life, but blogging is a form of relaxation and therapy for me.

Silent Sentinels
In the midst of loss, and change, and moving forward, I have been thinking. Thinking about the quiet, subtle forces in my life that keep me from trying new things, working harder at relationships and friendships, and keep me from being a better man and a more loving parent. These forces, they act like silent sentinels that stand at points of change or opportunity in my life. They guard me from new things, from ideas that might be threatening, from people that would stretch me, or change me, or maybe even make me a better man than I am. I can’t really see them all, but I can identify a couple of them. So far, in the fog and mist of my often-inability to understand myself, I can name two of these sentinels; Fear and Complacency.

First, Fear. Maybe I am not so different from lots of people. I fear change, new things, places that make me feel uncomfortable. Nothing new for me, thank you. In my middle age, I find myself sometimes feeling comfortable in the familiar old ruts that I have worked hard over the years to cut deep in the soil of my life. It feels safe here.

Next, Complacency. This force is a good friend and ally of Fear. Everything is fine, just the way it is, thank you. Why would we want to change anything? And then there are the infamous words heard often in the American church for maybe more than 100 years, “We have never done it like THAT around here before!”

Ready, Set, Change Everything!
As I set out on our family vacation, I brought with me several books. The first book, that I am working through now, in the middle of enjoying family and time off is Leadership Next, by Professor Eddie Gibbs of Fuller Seminary. I was given this book, quite by chance, it seemed, to read as a part of my involvement with the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller. But, there is no chance here, its much more like Providence.

As it turns out, this is a book about the future of the church, and the kind of new leaders that will lead this church. It is a book about the changes coming between the ideologies of modernism (read: my and my parents generation) and postmodernism (the future generations that will inherit the church).

If I can get some moments of clarity, and read through the lines, this is a book that is also about my silent friends, Fear and Complacency. They will not like the ideas in this book. These are Kingdom Ideas; big, wild, threatening, different, unfamiliar. Good ideas, ideas that inhabit the character of Christ. But in an interesting way, Old Ideas. Ideas that lead the early church that ended up changing the world through the birth and growth of Christianity. This is good stuff.

If I and lots of us complacent middle aged folk were to take these ideas seriously, maybe the church might be rebuilt. More soon.

File under: C
hurch Thoughts
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