Monday, September 29, 2014

Miserable joy and glorious pain

"I don't know where you're leading, unless you've led me here" is a line from a Rich Mullins song, penned near the end of his life.  I think about that line often.  Every once in awhile I slow down and look back over the years to the afternoon spent lying on my back on this rock, in a clearing in the Rockies at 10,000 feet.  I've just passed the 10 year anniversary of this 4 hours spent alone with God in a place that only God could have created.  To be honest, this past year has gone by so fast that I've not really taken the time to stop and look back again.  But I'm back for a morning in the place where so many posts were originated on this blog that took its name from this moment in time on "my rock".  I'm back and looking once again at this picture that reminds me of this defining chapter in the story that would propel me into the life and ministry that we now find ourselves in.  All that I can say, in an honest reflection, is that I now have 10 years of moments that I could never have imagined, often times didn't desire, and most of the time never felt adequate to take part in.  It has been a paradox of miserable joy combined with glorious pain.  So many good moments, many not so good.  Sometimes seeing clearly and sometimes only living to fight another day.... Deafening silence and unintelligible noise.
If I can add anything of value to anyone's story, allow me to add this;  it is so totally worth it.  We can, if we make ourselves available, enter in to the sort of stories rarely found outside the pages of the Book of books.  We can be answers to others prayers, we can see our own answered through the lives of those we connect with.  We can have a living, breathing, relationship with the one who created us all in his image.  If we wish, we can spend time with him in the garden and, like it or not, we will spend times hiding, questioning, wondering, and quite probably hurting when the darkness comes.  In the quiet times, take the opportunity to climb up on your own "rock" and take it all in, feel his embrace and the whisper of reassurance that it is so totally worth it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 27 "30 years in 30 days"

I'm going to post this today because I'm pretty sure that I won't have any time to get it in by the 31st of this month.  The 31st is the day after our "30 years in 30 days" celebration.  If you've joined this show late, then you should know that the 30 years is the number of years that we've been married and the 30 days represents 30 different pictorial visions of moments in time along our journey.  On the 31st day we have chosen to renew our vows before God and friends and then throw a party to honor it.  This was all my wife's idea... the "30 days" not the vow renewal/party thing.  It's shaping up to be quite the event, which is fitting because so was the wedding.  Anyway, I'm sitting down this afternoon to imagine what might be contained in my half of the vows and thinking back, not only over 30 years of married life but a total of 47 years of knowing the most incredible person that I've ever encountered.
We have had an incredibly blessed, adventurous and eventful story.  If I could attribute the magic of it to anything specific I would have to pick the passion that she puts into everything that she does.  The key to understanding how my wife views her time on this earth is to experience the moment at a restaurant when one of our servers approaches the table and asks the fateful question "What can I get you?".  Her response is simple yet offers a profound glimpse into her view of life.  Very simply she says "I have a question".  Any who have been with us have experienced it and look forward to it.   A very simple question, but so very key to understanding her.  It means that, regardless of the descriptions on the menus and no matter how detailed the offerings, she is looking for something unique.  She doesn't settle and it reflects her thoughts that all of life is a chance to substitute.  A custom order is only a question away, yet its a question that most never ask. It used to drive me absolutely crazy.  I saw it as a version of high maintenance.  I tend to be a rule follower, black and white, what it says is how it is.  Over the years though I've seen some interesting, admirable, and actually life giving correlations between her ordering habits and her view of life.
First of all, I've discovered that its not high maintenance because if the answer is "no" or "we can't do that" she will settle for the menu.  However, all things equal, she doesn't want to settle, in ordering and in life.  I've seen that the overwhelming majority of the time, not only does she get it "her way" she often draws the servers into her delusional world of how it could in fact be better and, time after time, a bond is formed.  I've also seen her live a life in pursuit of Jesus that doesn't settle.  She prayers passionately and specifically and time after time I am thinking that one doesn't pray that's not ok, and its a bit presumptuous. And then time after time I see her prayers answered in so much detail, just the way she has offered them ... so I have since determined to be more like her. "Come boldly before the throne" takes on a new and very real meaning and I believe that God anticipates and enjoys her "I have a question" interactions with him.  Her prayers fuel our journeys and weave through our stories.
I see a good many couples making it to milestones in their married lives and so many look like they are only halfway through a grueling marathon.  I feel like we are fresh and ready to start a new one ... fueled by questions that keep us from settling.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What's it gonna take?

Far be it from me to want to jump onto the bandwagon of internet remembrances of Robin Williams, his life, death, and legacy.  Let me just say upfront that I was a huge admirer of everything that comprised the life of this very talented and gifted artist.. the good and the bad, the honesty and the energy,the humor and the intensely serious.  I grew up with him... not literally, but figuratively from "Mork and Mindy" until yesterday.  Not wanting to be overly dramatic, I'll risk sharing that the news of his passing, particularly the way of his passing, seems to have burrowed deeply into my soul since yesterday.  It's an odd thing really.  It's not about any sort of connection or relationship that we had.  I've not shed tears of personal loss.  I don't personally identify, at least not that I'm aware of, with the level of depression that was obviously tormenting him.  I've wanted to walk away from a good many things in my life, but never life itself.  Something burrowed into my heart late yesterday and it's not gone away.  It's just a question .... loud, clear, taunting, haunting, and relentlessly questioning ... "What's it gonna take?"
As I've wrestled with the dynamics and implications of this, I've realized that the heart of the question is whats been lingering beneath the heart of my pastoral self.  It's multifaceted, it's annoying, and I'm not really sure that it has any particular resolution.  In fact it might be dangerously and tragically rhetorical. "What's it gonna take?"  Being in the pastoral arts profession, most of my wrestling comes from a community of faith, followers of Jesus,sort of place.  So I'll ask you who claim the faith that I claim, "What's it going to take?"

  • before we wake up to the destructive realities of depression and get us to quit treating it like there is a "pull yourself up by your own boot straps, fake it till you make it" solution and to act like a transparent community of broken and struggling wanderers on a common journey.
  • to convince us of the insidious nature of Satan and his propensity for separating and isolating.
  • to pull the ear buds out of our ears, pull our heads up from our "not so" smart phones, stop listening to Siri and start listening to each other ... and I'm referring to we, the "church/Jesus" people.
  • for us to take down the invisible, yet very apparent, "you must fit in" signs that hang from too many of our worship centers
  • to convince us that many of the broken people that we are called to love might very well not be homeless at all...they might in fact be "living the life I've always dreamed of".
  • to accept that Facebook and Twitter friends do not equal relational "how are you doing really?" types of relationships
  • for us to understand that "celebrity", even within the Christian context, is not the end of all want and need and the reward for a life well lived.
If this latest loss to our culture has done anything for me it has hammered home how much more we stand to lose while we, the people of Jesus, stand on the side and sheepishly withold  what we ourselves have already been offered ... love, caring, community, hope, redemption, healing, relationship, wholeness, salvation ... need I go on?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Welcome back?

It's been three months.  It's the longest stretch, I believe, of silence on this now 10 year old collection of randomness that I have struggled to use for the sole purpose of maintaining sanity and balance.  As I read back over the years, I see glimpses of my mental state weaving their way like a tapestry through the phases that comprise my life as a self proclaimed pastoral artist in the great city of Seattle.  I see glimpses of whimsy (I really just have always wanted to use that word), glimpses of profound thoughtfulness ... And humility, and glimpses of sarcastic and cynical darkness.  Sometimes it is hard to look back and read these ... And then again sometimes it has been encouraging.
My absence over these past few months I can attribute entirely to an attempt at not indulging the cynic that lurks below the surface.  My ever encouraging wife has been insisting that I begin writing again as it truly is balance and we truly are trying to regain ours.  Many of you know that I have this other blog that is meant to be a guiding force in encouraging the infant church that we are nurturing forward.  To be completely honest, lately it has taken every ounce of optimism that I still possess to keep that one as encouraging as it needs to be ... So something had to give and it was my old standby that has been on the sidelines... Standing by...waiting for relief that has been very slow in coming and is still not fully there.
I'm a pastor ... and we are not really supposed to admit that sometimes following the path of Jesus just outright sucks.  But it does, and it has, and I've tried to avoid it publicly but it seems as if every day that I do I come face to face with this reality manifested in the life of someone else who is walking in the darkness best described in the Psalms and through the writings of some of the ancient mystics of the faith, usually locked away because it often was too painful to admit while pulling back the curtain on the wizard.  I could write my own version of the psalms... I'm pretty sure that Lifeway wouldn't allow them to be sold in their stores, nor would I be able to share from them devotionally.
I, for one, am tired of masks and "fake it till you make it" theology.  This real faith stuff is risky, it's hard, you can fail and you can get hurt and anyone who tells you differently is lying to you.  You can swear at God and not get zapped like a bug.  You can give God the ole three finger salute minus two fingers and still keep your hands to fight another day.  In fact, I believe, that you have to be at this point somewhere along the life and growth process of you relationship with Jesus or you're not really trying.

 The real honest truth that I hope to begin this next chapter of my writings with is this ...  It's hard, but Oh so worth it, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

view from the ground

I put my shirt on backwards this morning.  That's all you really need to know in order to understand my current state of mind.  Or perhaps one more detail; it took my, nearly blind without her contacts in, wife's observation to point it out to meets morning.  Just one more piece of evidence in the mounting case against my own personal abilities to carry out this task laid before us.  I'm referring to the launching, or planting .... Launching just sounds so much more forward motion like ... Of this new community dedicated to following and being Jesus in the city.
I'm very much ok with not knowing what I'm really doing ... In fact, I think that my awareness of assessment says that I'm very "self aware" in fact brilliance in the making.  It keeps me off my feet and desperately relying on Gods still small voice to propel us forward.
I am not ashamed to tell you, from the inside, that this church planting thing is not as cool and brave and entrepreneurial as it can be made out to be.  Others in my field may be upset at my revelations, they still may want to be the "man behind the curtain" version of the Wizard, but I'm not one for smoke and mirrors.  If done in a God, not self, honoring way, it becomes more stumbling, staggering, listening, waiting and then more stumbling and staggering.  Repeat.  The real stuff, in my opinion, comes from something known as "resilience".   In my vocabulary, this is one of the most prominent qualities that enables someone who does what I do to be able to, in fact, do it.  Resilience is a much desired quality to be discovered when you are going through an assessment to determine your chances of actually succeeding in establishing a new church community.  In common, everyday language, it means that, when knocked down, you have the ability to get back up to fight another round.  It sounded noble enough to me when I was told that my resilience was assessed to be fairly high.  I saw all 22 of the Rocky movies.  I once even ran up those iconic stairs in Philidephia with the theme playing loudly in my imagination.
 I will tell you two things about this resilience in church planting thing.  First of all, it is true, the need for it I mean.  If you want to experience an intense engagement with "spiritual warfare", and I don't recommend it, take a turn at church planting.  There is a decent bit of being knocked down along the journey.  Sometimes it comes in expected adversarial places.  Sometimes it comes from "friendly fire".  Regardless of the source, one thing is consistent, it does in fact come.  You can try to whitewash it and make it all "for the good of the cause" glorious and "rejoice when you suffer" bible quoting stuff, but the reality is that it doesn't make it less painful and it doesn't make it easier to get up.  One thing I know is that getting up always means getting knocked down again. Resilience is crap and most days I kind of resent it being a quality of mine ... But make no mistake, it is what leads me ever forward...and it is necessary.  Secondly, the best thing resilience does, in my opinion, is not enabling you to get up again, it is enabling you to rely on something beyond yourself to survive and succeed.  What I mean is that, at some point along the way, you become dependent on the author of this bizarre journey to carry you along, to stand you up and dust you off and once again propel you forward.  In fact, you become aware that its not about you at all.  This thing I've been called into is not of my making and I am not propelling it forward.  It is propelling me, propelling us.  I have discovered that the greatest benefit to lying on the ground is that you have nowhere to look but up.  And that is a very good thing.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

No Starbucks here

I must admit to a real quagmire (my new favorite word) of mixed emotions as I write this.  In the 10 years worth of life's lessons and musings contained in this blog, many of you would note that Starbucks has had a place of prominence.  Many mornings, with a grande drip and a croissant and a beachside window seat, have been recorded here.  In all of the incredible things that we've experienced in our new journey of church, one thing has never been replaced ... My early morning ritual of viewing the world through the window on Alki.  Over the years I have wandered and tried other venues to change things up, but always returning eventually to watch the sun rise over the ferry's on their downtown trek across the sound.
With all of my fondness in the context of my writing, one thing cannot be shaken from the reality of the Starbucks coffee experience itself... It is sorely lacking when placed besides so many of the local venues.  Now to be fair, when we are outside of the Northwest, Starbucks is a caffeine oasis.  Their straight up brewed, even here, is still my favorite.  However, when it comes to crafting drinks and the experience that might possibly warrant the price tag, they are not even close.  For those of you not from these parts, let me explain.  Starbucks has become a place to get you through the line as quickly as possible with an acceptable cup of coffee.  Sure, you might hang around the place if there are chairs (rapidly disappearing) to be found, but the creation of your drink is not at all what it once was. By comparison, I can go to any number of local neighborhood haunts and get a full on, interact with the barista, artistic and culinary creation.  It's the difference between being made with love and made with efficiency.  They want to serve as many as possible, as decently as possible, but don't be mislead, ease and efficiency are driving the boat... Not so much in a local shop.  There is interaction, relationship, caring and the desire to see you back again.  It's community and life and experience all served with a shot or two.
And here's why it matters to me at this point in my life.  As we journey along this path of birthing a new community of Jesus followers, I can't help but run these thoughts through this filter.   I have spent 22 years in the pastoral arts and I have come to see my ministry through the lens of Starbucks.  We've been set up to serve the most people in the most efficient way possible.  Don't get me wrong, what's being presented is still good stuff.  Starbucks still has some dang good coffee.  It just seems that in many, not all, cases the heart is missing.  Certainly the relationships are suffering.  The care, the craftsmanship and the artistry are missing.  It's all about time and how to make the most people happy so they don't go somewhere else.  Eugene Peterson referred to contemporary pastors as shop keepers and after 22 years of creating, delivering, and repeating the show, I will tell you, in my own opinion of course, that he's pretty much spot on.  Now don't misread is not generally sinful or's just lacking.  The tension is that it efficiency and quantity tend to do better at paying the bills.  Relationships are a harder sell in a market driven economy.
To be fair, Starbucks did not start out worshipping at the alter of efficiency.  They were created to model relationship and experience, as was the church in its inception.  I can tell you, as a coffee loving pastoral artist from Seattle, that people can tell the difference.  They can tell it in matters of coffee as well matters of faith.  It may be good, but deep down they're really looking for best.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Everyone's a critic

I actually found a spot to sit in the land of badge people, known outside of my neighborhood as Amazon.  A seat in a comfortable spot in the Starbucks located at ground zero is a valuable commodity.  It doesn't often happen here during business hours 6 days a week, so I'm feeling pretty fortunate.  I have Van Morrison in my headphones, wondering if any people of the badges actually know who he is, and am just spending a bit of time people watching.  Lest you think that's code for being lazy, I'm actually working.  It's a bit of a self imposed research project that all people who practice the pastoral arts need to consider a priority task.  Actually, all people who claim a relationship with Jesus need to see this as a more noble task than it tends to be considered in the contemporary church.  A bit of contextualizing wouldn't really hurt anyone.  Jesus was, after all, the master of it.  If we claim to follow him, it only makes sense that we employ some of his methods.
In the role of church planter that I currently hold, this is not luxury, it's necessity.  To know how and how not to be able to communicate within the context that I find myself is of the highest priority.
It pained me to hear this morning, once again that "conservative" people of my belief were protesting and objectionable to the upcoming release of Hollywoods latest offering for the masses hungering for spiritually centered messaging... Otherwise known as "Noah".  The objections center primarily around the thought that this movie is not necessarily "biblically" accurate.  Really?  Really??? The screenwriters apparently took some creative license with the biblical account.  Really???  I would guess that if one didn't take some kind of liberties, it would be a pretty short film.  This is probably something that my contemporaries wouldn't want you to know but I'm pretty sure a fair number of us "preacher" types have taken some sort of liberty with the text in order to communicate the truths we hold dear.  "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" sort of stuff.  Why?  Because good communicators and preacher types know their audiences and what will get across and what won't.
So why do we insist on running our same play book of criticism and angst when someone from Hollywood sees an opportunity ( make a movie) to communicate to a need (spiritual interest/desire) that people will actually pay to consume.
Perhaps, those of my faith need to spend less time criticizing those who are answering the call and spend a bit of time people watching, better yet listening, and investing in our own ability to communicate truth.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm on my way to get some badges printed up for our new church.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hope along the path to church planting

Sitting here at Starbucks in the midst of Amazon and wondering again how I got here ... Not in Starbucks, that's an easy one.  I'm wondering how I find myself in a place where, once again, there is little to guide me accept a combination of feeling and fleeting whispers to keep going.  The feeling pushes me forward and the whispers assure me of the path ... Or so I am imagining.  Some people think that we, my wife and I, have gone off the deep end in this new adventure.  I'd be likely to agree, if it weren't for the whispers.   Before it is confirmed that I am crazy or that I'm now hearing voices, let me clarify that the whispers come in moments that I get to experience the unquestionable assurances that I am in the right place.  I would call them unquestionable because they are moments that don't happen in ordinary life.  I believe that they are ushered in by what those of my faith would call the Holy Spirit... As in the Father, Son and ...
Let me give you an example that gives me great hope as well as the whisper that we are in the right place and in the right time.  It comes in the form of two churches in the community that God has placed us.  You may not be aware of this, but churches often times don't really exhibit a spirit of cooperation nor do they exhibit a spirit of comradarie.  Instead, there is another "c" word that tends to surface.  It's known as competition.  It happens between churches of different groups.  It happens between churches of same groups.  It happens a great deal when a "new" church comes to town.  It's understandable, I guess.  In our culture and context, despite the reality that we are called to relationally convey our faith, our default mode is marketing.  Social media, signage and promotion are far more prevalent than "one beggar telling another where to get bread".  The problem with this method is that it needs an advantage to gain an audience.  It's basic marketing, why is one better than another ... Bigger, better, newer, or the faith based term "relevant" are the messages of choice.  As a result, they can't see Jesus for the churches.  I'll say this ... If this church planting thing was an issue of bigger, better, newer, or more relevant for me, I'd go back to delivering Domino's.  For my wife and I, it is simply to establish a life changing community that points people to Jesus.  It'll be different, for sure...but mainly because we are.
So here is where the whisper comes in... As we arrived here in our new neighborhood, seeking to partner with and come alongside those already here in Jesus name, we found 2 congregations with the exact same heart.  Neither threatened by our arrival.  Neither feeling that they were being judged and found wanting of "relevance".  To be quiet honest, and this won't sit well with some of my tribe, they have been more encouraging than some whose heritage that we share.  We have been invited in to each congregation, we have been encouraged, we have been prayed over, and Jesus has been lifted up.  Let  me tell you that this isn't often the case in the "real world" of church planting, and for that I have great hope.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dodging Amazon

This new land that I find myself surrounded by has given me new inspiration for undertaking something that has been pushing me from the inside for quite sometime...almost more time that I'd care to admit.  Actually I just discovered a bench mark when, through some divine inspiration combined with a very practical need to "get a life" beyond the one I'm consumed with most of my waking hours, I sat down to journey back down memory lane.  I ended up at my very first blog post.  Having gone back to the beginning, two things struck deep within me.  The first one was the reality of how long ago that was ... nearly 9 years ago.  So many things have transpired in my life since then.   When I began this online odyssey I was in a different neighborhood, with a different future in mind, and different views on what it would mean for me to be faithful in following God's call on my life.  Our family portrait only had four faces and they were all in the same house.  Now the portrait has 8, moving to 9 this next week, and we span 3 different locations and two different states with 1200 miles between us.  I still don't spend any time in an office but that's because I know longer have one.  I've gone from a 100 year old church with 4 buildings on 2 blocks to a church not yet birthed with no buildings and no idea which block we might really land on.  The question of "how do I find myself here?" can be answered by a term that I have come up with lately, inspired by my new locale.  It's actually a physical metaphor for a spiritual state of being that I can identify in my life.  I call it "dodging Amazon". 
Let me take the liberty of explaining this one.  My new neighborhood has an overwhelming influence from that most prolific of online retailers, Amazon.  I live within site of ground zero for their sprawling empire.  Thousands of people wandering the streets of my neighborhood earn their livelihood from them.  Dozens of area restaurants are finding fortune from them.  They, the Amazon nation, are everywhere ... including every street, intersection, and crosswalk for blocks around.  The stereotype is headphone and backpack clad, head down, smartphone led, food truck seeking, pack wanderers.  This is probably unfair to some and possibly a bit exaggerating, but its accurate enough to cause anyone in a motorized vehicle to constantly be focused and ready to "dodge Amazon".  They have this annoying habit of stepping out, often without warning, from the curb right in front of oncoming traffic.  Sometimes it is with a slight nod or wave of thanks for yielding, and sometimes it is accompanied by a clueless expression.   It occurred to me, a few weeks back, when the 1 millionth of them walked blindly in front of me causing a quick braking and even quicker stream of mental adjectives, that I need to constantly be aware of the inevitable interruption of my life's flow.  I have always tended to be, strived to be, longed to be, a point A to point B person.  It's not necessarily the best way to live, but its my way and I like it.  So when get into the car and head out, I'm wanting to mentally be 5 miles out.  I can't do that here.  I have to constantly be engaged in "dodging Amazon".  Whether they are going to step out in front of me or not doesn't matter, because they are always there, and could be in front of me, disrupting my life at any intersection. 
It occurred to me a few weeks back that this is exactly how I got here in the first place.  I have been playing this game for years and have not really realized it.  Every time that I get comfortable and looking 5 miles down the road, God has this annoying habit of stepping off the curb, and once again I'm snapped out of my stupor.  If I'm wise, I'm going to yield.  When I do, I often get to see the appreciative nod.  If nothing else, I have been forced to become more aware of my surroundings. 
This morning, pausing to look back where this all began, I can see the appreciative nod and realize once more that I'm right where I'm supposed to be.  Here's to many more years of "dodging Amazon."

Thursday, January 02, 2014


This morning I heard someone that many of you would know respond to a question posed to him with the comment "I think that everyone just needs to do what's right for themselves".  This wasn't a blanket statement, it was contained within a context to be sure, but it is certainly a reflection of where we are in our culture of "me and mine".  I'm not na├»ve and I've not just crawled out from under a rock.  I understand that this has been along time coming...culturally speaking.  My alarm comes from a "light bulb" moment  culminating from my long struggle with the faith system that I've dedicated my pastoral artistry to.  Everyone else who does not share my love for Jesus can excuse the rant, but if you are a professed follower of the Jesus of history and the book of books please hang around for a bit.  I have something for you to consider.
If you have been invested much at all in your faith process, particularly the evangelical version, you have most likely increasingly heard the terminology regarding discipleship and disciple making coming from your hallowed halls.  Its not a new term at all...Jesus used it and in fact it was part of his last earthly discussion with those following him.  Really, in its most basic form, it simply means someone who is becoming increasingly more like Jesus.  It's process terminology and it represents a process never completed this side of heaven.  However, it has become the holy grail and the silver bullet of the Christian life, all wrapped up in one curriculum demanding ideal.  The problem with this is that there is no curriculum to draw you closer to the person of Jesus other than the gospels.  Want to be a disciple, start by reading about the one whom you are trying to model.  Sounds more easy than we've made it?  This is because we live in a culture of "everyone just needs to do what's right for themselves"... and by culture, I am referring to contemporary "church" culture.  This thought process, that seems so right to so many is so contrary to the life of the one we are trying to model.  Want to follow Jesus?  Don't think of yourself.  Want to model his life?  Don't think of yourself.  Want to grow in your faith?  Don't think of yourself.  In the land of self, we are called to be selfless.
I have this theory.  In the Older 2/3 of the book of books there is an encounter with God where he asks "Whom will I send and who will go for us?"  A guy named Isaiah, for a moment in time, does not think of himself, responds "here am I, send me".   In other words, he said, "hey I'm available".  If you continue to read, even immediately following his volunteering, it is quite obvious that this was not in his best interest.  He wasn't doing what was right for fact he was setting himself up for a life of immense selflessness that wasn't going to bring him anything but grief.  But here's the thing... what came out of his making himself available was foundational to the hope of Israel and the ultimate coming of Jesus.  So here's my theory ... the greatest movements of God result from him asking "who will go for us" and someone responding "I'm available, I'll go".  Most of us are stuck in what's right for ourselves.  Discipleship is simply sacrificially giving ourselves to a movement of God.  It looks different for everyone.  It can be practical.  It can be physical.  It can be financial.  The only thing common is that it represents "available".   We long for discipleship but are never "available" to follow.  It's understandable for the culture that we live in.  It's tragic for those who claim to want it.