Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Stability

If you haven't gained this from any previous posts, you should know that I live in an area of constant transition.  Literally nothing has stayed the same for more than a month at a time on any block in my neighborhood.  It's a constant state of flowing into or out of existence.  I can guarantee you that Google earth will be of little value here.  Less than a year ago we were excited about a partnership with a local non-profit that gave us our first home here as we try to set roots down for a new faith community.  We might as well be trying to settle in to quicksand.  The sign to left here gives you an indication on how long lasting that development was.  Don't get me wrong, I knew this area well enough to know that this was going to be temporary.  It's just that temporary gets so much shorter in this part of the world.  So once again, we look for a foothold to grab onto.
It does seem illustrative of the nature of what we are ultimately trying to do, God willing ... And I'm assuming that He is.  We live and serve an area and a population that is as changing as the landscape that they inhabit.  They come for the fleeting security of high wages and high rise living.  It's an illusion that they've long dreamt about and that this neighborhood promises.  However, they are still mere mortals, living among mortals, employed by mortals, pursuing a hope which only the immortal can provide.  The instability of this place speaks to the instability of that which has brought them here.  It's easy to get caught in it ... And much like quicksand, the more activity one puts into it, the deeper one gets.
So we are off again, sometime in the next few months, as our home becomes home to hundreds more ... Hundreds who, in the midst of pursuing the illusion, will long for the hope long sought after.  Pray with us as we grab on and offer the handhold and stability of  a relationship with Jesus.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Further

So a month ago I mused about life that was coming up and decisions on the how's and when's of navigating the path.  A month in, I find myself in the midst of it.  Most of us understand that life can be planned to a degree and then ultimately it has a way of just happening regardless of plans.  When you give over control, it can get even more interesting.
My journey of pastoral artistry has taken me down some "I'll never go down that one" paths.  My illusion of where I'd be in the latter years of pastoral artistry has become just that, an illusion.  The latest "never" to become reality is the "never" of graveyard shifts.  I have always valued sleep too much to do anything other than truly admire those who watch over us and work for us in the darkness.  When my story is done it will now include a chapter of working in a family homeless shelter.  I have no idea who thought that this was a necessary side stop along the road to establishing a new church.  I'd have never scripted this.  In fact, if I knew that it was part of the deal, I'd have excercised the "Jonah" clause and jumped the next boat out in the opposite direction.  It can be challenging not seeing where you're headed.
 I have a distinct memory from several years back of a boat journey on a beautiful Summer day on a beautiful "Great Lake".  When you journey out onto a body of water large enough, you can get to the point where the shore you came from disappears before the shore you are headed to appears.  If you aren't paying attention, you can travel across for quite some time without really noticing ... With an illusion you know where you're going, all the time just soaking it in.  However, just possibly, at the point you loose sight of the shore you began from, and before the one you are headed to comes into view, there might be a moment of anxiety while you try to grab onto your bearings.  A momentary feeling of "lost" can come up quite fast.  It's at that point, if panic is to be averted, you must focus on the heading.  You may have a focal point.  You may have coordinates, gps, or even the ever reliable compass.  The important thing is that there is something leading you further along the journey.