Wednesday, March 25, 2015

on ghosts, geese, and grasping at the wind

This post will someday make its way into a book if I ever can begin the book writing process.  For
now, since I seem to have enough of a challenge just getting a post done here or there, I will settle on a few hundred words to unload something out of my soul.  I have a dilemma.  Its a fairly serious one, far more serious than the decision for or against skinny jeans.  My dilemma is that I feel compelled, from the depths of my soul, that my story is to encourage others to dive deeper into their own stories ... and in doing so to overlay God's story into theirs so much more fully than most are ever likely to do.  My story has driven me out of a secular life into something that I'd term professionally sacred.  I make my living doing this, but on top of that, my very living is doing that... so much more than average.  Allow me to be painfully honest and to remove any humility for a moment.  My journey has not been average, by professionally sacred standards. It's not that I'm more sacred by any means ... most time my sacred is totally lacking and frankly rather sucks.  It's not average though ... the unconventional path to ministry, the challenges that I've chosen (not had thrust upon me) and this resulting current phase of planting something new in some of the rockiest soil imaginable, have all been beyond average.  Most people who do what I do, haven't done it the way I've chosen to do it.  Don't misunderstand ... I'm not bragging here.  I'm complaining.  It's not an honor, this calling,  no matter how I may want to color it. Certainly I can look back and find a sense of accomplishment, pride and gratitude for the journey ... after the fact.  In the midst of it though I just want to whine, shake my fist, and move to a small, white clapboard, country church at some 4 corners of nowhere and mind my own business.  I want that more than anything and at times I strain like a 3 year old straining for the cookie just out of reach.  Herein lies my dilemma.  I want the people that I encounter to have such a rich and deep relationship with the author of their own stories that they learn to walk by faith, not by sight.  From the depths of my being I know that this is the place where true relationship with Jesus and the true formation of a follower begins to form... and I desperately want that for them, even while I'm tired of it myself.  I'm tired of chasing the ghosts of possible answered prayer,  It's the "aha" followed by the "just kidding" that has a way of getting to me.  Like having a faint light emerge in the darkness and a form seemingly take shape only to have it disappear like a wisp of fog when the breeze kicks up.  Ancient Celtic faith referred to the Holy Spirit as a "wild goose".  Insightful analogy that I'd love to sit and meditate on but I'm too pissed to care when my own version of chasing them unfolds.  In the end I don't know the answer ... I just know that I want for them what Jesus wants, a deeper and richer walk down a path that challenges faith in every way imaginable.  How is that going to happen?  How will this be played out?  What exactly is my role, beyond mere survival?  I have no idea.  I thought that I did once, but I ended up grasping at the wind one more time.

Imago Dei

Sitting at the Starbucks in my neighborhood would be considered quite challenging for anyone who might have sensory challenges.  On a typical day it can resemble a between classes campus hangout.  The people are predominantly Amazon in origin with a random smattering of Microsoft and bio-tech thrown in for variety.  I am, by my own observation, one of the few here who hasn't merely chosen to change wifi sources and office space to continue on in the pursuit of all things beyond the leading edge.  It is an endless stream of people coming in together, ordering together, waiting together, then continuing the meeting that began somewhere else on the campus.  Needless to say, there is no meditation going on in this space ... no crazy soul filled Jazz, no espresso hiss is discernible and little, if any, banter between barista and consumer.
On rare occasions that I brave the madness and get a seat, I immediately grab the ear buds and turn on the music.  It began as a defense mechanism, but now continues by serving a greater purpose.  With the ear buds in, all I can discern is this group of people, mouths all moving, hands gesturing, and legs posturing within the course of undoubtedly the most important conversations to ever be influenced by caffeine.  I have a pair to my right in the midst of the interview of a lifetime.  I have a pair to my right in some deep negotiating over the application of a software update.  Many of them are in the midst of this generations version of multi-tasking, talking while texting.  I don't say all this to belittle what is taking place here.  They are obviously all important people doing vitally important work.  It's just fun to watch, because without the benefit of the dialogue, each looks very much the same.  A few are more relational in nature ... I can tell by the smiles ... Otherwise it is all quite intense ... In volume and in the amount of space being taken up.
I imagine as I'm sitting here, watching all of this that it could be a snapshot of the view that heaven gets of humanity.  So many talking heads ... looking so much the same, doing so much the same, and yet at the same time, so different.  I'm reminded though that heaven sees this through a different filter.  Through their filter, the one labeled "image dei", everyone ...though appearing same, are so much different.  I can look at all of these and wonder which matters and which doesn't.  In heavens eyes, it all matters because they all matter.  I can't begin to care enough about all of what is going on around me in this place.  Heaven can't help but care enough.  And that my friends is why this process of church planting is so much more dependent of God than on me.  That is why following Jesus literally means following Jesus... Don't forget the headphones.