It’s still dark out and my eyes are struggling to find the beach. Despite the warning on the cup, Starbucks brew is sliding effortlessly and quickly down my throat and Pandora is playing in my head. It’s an indication that I’m working on launching some type of a productive day. Good luck with that. There’s a whole line of people standing in the mist waiting for an idling bus to open its doors. I think the driver was in line ahead of me. They are waiting for the start of their productive days…I can see it in their eyes. That’s the difference between them and myself. If I were headed to the office it probably would not be the same as heading towards a productive destiny. It would be heading towards plumbing issues, blinking answering machines, bills to pay, and salespeople trying to sell me the latest in Christian crap. I am fortunate that I have the freedom to choose where I meet my productive self.
What I do with my life is best done
around people in the places that they are most natural. I can guarantee that this place of authenticity would not be my office. I’ve tried to make it as informal a place as I can make it. Most days it looks like a Toys R Us has exploded in there. It doesn’t matter much. People tend to put on masks when they come into my “office”. In fact they don’t just put on masks, sometimes they put on the whole costume. They want me to think that they are someone else…or that a friend has an issue…or they get the idea from “someone” that there is a problem that I might want to address. They don’t use the language that they normally might use. We don’t even really have very good coffee. All in all, it’s not all that authentic and it’s not all that inspirational.
For me to be me, whoever that may be, at least the pastoral artist part of me, I need to be out. If you know me then you know how much of a contradiction this is. I am one of the least people oriented people persons in a people centered profession that you would ever want to meet. I am not telling you that the party follows me. Most don’t even know that I’m around. But I do see myself as a reader and the story that I am reading and have been called to read is not going to be found in my office unless my office is at Hotwire or Starbucks or Ginomai or West 5 or any place else that I might find people in their natural habitat… and lets’ be honest, more often than not it’s my natural habitat. God’s story is so much larger and grander than anything that I’ll ever see contained within my walls.
Over the years, the church that God had envisioned changed from organism to institution and with it came walls and offices and spiritual compartments. We went from living the freedom that comes with being a follower of Jesus to learning about the thoughts and teachings of Jesus in an institutional classroom like setting. We have become museums and malls where nice people go to become nicer. It doesn’t seem to me to be worth sacrificing the son of God over. So, this morning as my office begins to fill with people ready to start their day, I’ll leave you with this thought. Get out ! If you are a follower of Jesus, get out from behind the walls of your church. If your church wants you to stay behind the walls to keep spinning all of the plates and all of their programs for their people, then get out of your church. If you are a leader of one of these churches, Get out! Be free. Take a break. Enjoy the coffee and the view. God has called you to be productive and chances are that it might look slightly different than we’ve been led to believe.