Monday, December 11, 2006
The Present Future
i walked into my office today and remembered i had pulled a book off the shelf last week that i had gotten probably like six months ago. it intrigued me at the time, but i was in my non-reading stage. since i am trying to move back into j-lou the reader, i was thinking that i should put it on the list to read. i am reading two other books right now (ones from the old post). so i read this portion of the introduction...
"i also don't get kicks out of deconstructing a world (american church world) i was once very fond of. it is is a world that nurtured me when i was young and imparted faith to me and has continued to confirm and legitimize my life calling. i grew up in the home of a bivocational pastor, whose dad before him as a mill village pastor... i began ministry in the church thirty years ago as a college freshman. ministry and the church have been my world. but it is a world that i find increasingly find difficult to feel at home in because it lacks spiritual purpose and missional vitality.
i'm talking about the church world in north america. a world that has largely forsaken its missional covenant with god to be a part of kingdom expansion. it has, instead, substituted its own charter of church as a clubhouse where religious people hang out with other people who think, dress, behave, vote and believe like them." (p. xii-xiv)
i was very lucky and i say extremely lucky to serve along side a pastor for almost nine years that was not trying to build and grow a church the traditional way. he was genuinely concerned about people learning to follow christ even if it meant them going somewhere else or not coming to all of the programs that were established by our faith community. the trouble and frustration comes when people come from other congregations and attempt to place certain status quo situation on our faith community. as i read this introduction, especially the parts i bolded, my heart inside connected so deeply to those words. ministry and church has been my world for so long, since 1993. i would say about two years, i began being discontent with what i was seeing in the church as being a part of uywi for the 11 years i am in relationship with many churches. i saw young people thirsty for spirituality but now wanting to sit in a service on sunday mornings and say that i went to church. i would also say in the last two years i have been on a journey to better understand the kingdom of god and how that affects ministry and church. so i am excited about this books second chapter, 'the shift from church growth to kingdom growth'.
i remember sitting on a plane reading generous orthodoxy by brain mclaren. i was coming back from some reload (i think i was flying somewhere every other week, so who knows where i was), but i remember reading his words and having tears come into my eyes. brian stirred something in me that has not settled and at the time i thought i would figure it out over the next few months, but little did i know my definition of family would be rocked as i was trying to redefine my faith and issues with the traditional church and a growing deeper desire to be anything but republican. lol. not sure why... but it seemed like the issues that broke my heart were different that those of people who had mentored and raised me.
i am so rambling... but deal with it. haha. i have no idea if i figured out much over the last two years in regards to my issues with theology, traditional church, ministry and people who love the status quo, but i know that this book will be read in the next week because it touched a core of my heart so quickly, so my ethic books will take a pause and reggie mcneal will get my time and energy this week and i will pass any and all memorable quotes from the book that i think you should read. peace.