Friday, November 18, 2005

expectations are funny things

i ran into an old friend a couple of weeks ago. she is a children's minister at a church which has been embroiled in conflict and, for a while, seemed on the verge of division. after we embraced and exchanged the small pleasantries that serve as foreplay for conversation, she looked me straight in the eyes and said, "so how's dying treating you?" how's that for an unexpected climax? i didn't immediately understand her question, but a moment of reflection helped me make the connection.

my friend was equating ministry - this kenotic life of compassion and proclamation - with dying. i think her connection is a good one. perhaps even essential.

those of us who follow Christ have been called to pursue death in hopes that we might be surprised by life. we've been told to empty ourselves completely, so that we might eventually be filled. we've been called to shelve our ambition in order to wade knee deep into our own, and other people's, e.o.e. sometimes we Christ-followers fool ourselves by expecting happiness, a sense of meaning or at least a bit of contentment upon this journey. but none of those are promised. death, on the other hand, is.

so let's fix our expectations on and continue to pursue death in hope that we might eventually, and unexpectedly, be caught up in and written into the eternal song of life.

5 comments:

Agent B said...

die to self. Man, good words. Lots of good stuff on the blogoswhatever today.

Has your company started carrying the Gentry serman tapes yet?

g13 said...

thanks for your kind words. lightway did express interest in my sermons and papers, until they realized that none of them measured up to their moral standards. they said "my propensity for vulgarity would alienate their core constituency." i told them that's a bunch of fucking bullshit. my stuff is so PG.

Mike said...

ummm, does dying to self include giving up beer and stogies?

g13 said...

unless you're convicted about it, i doubt it.

in my experience, God is a little "type A" when it comes to obedience. that being said, he can ask us to sustain from the apparently inane and submit in the most unexpected ways.

james said...

Last I heard, beer was okay but if your stogies are labeled "Honey Berry" then you'll have to give those up.