Thursday, June 29, 2006

be sure to bring your friends

revival. i have serious issues with that word. the mere sound of those three syllables reminds me of the church-ianity of my youth.

revival. how can i hear the first syllable without thinking about the time my home congregation hosted a week of services and the youth group was challenged to see how many souls we could slip into the pews and get saved? if memory serves, i brought six souls with me, most of whom were already believers and one of whom i didn’t even like.

revival. how can i hear the second syllable without reflecting on the heaven’s gates, hell’s flames altar calls that always lead off the lock-ins (i guess we needed to get saved before getting cranked on store-brand cola) and concluded the evening camp services that were sponsored by my friend’s free-will baptist church.?

revival. how many assembly of God churches on i-44 proudly boasted that their revival had been goin’ on for 12, 23 or 46 weeks as though enduring an endless number of unscripted services is the ultimate mark of renewal?

revival. as soon as the word rolls of the tongue i start to think about churches that are as desperate for new members as vampires are for blood and i shudder at the thought of unknown pastors, who won’t even remember my name in the morning, slapping my back as though they’re my new best friend.

revival. God forgive us for the way we try to harness the winds of your Spirit in order to direct the SS church towards our own ports of call.

revival. if we never pop another tent for the purpose of manufacturing new members then the world will probably be a better place.


revival. it brings tears to my eyes and an abrupt turn to my stomach to admit this, but God how we need it.

revival. renew our body by restoring a healthy connection to our Head, strengthening our hands to serve those in need and hardening our feet so that we might continue on this narrow road that winds its way towards your Kingdom.

revival. fill each of the members of your body with an extra measure of the Spirit so that we might cast of the hidden anxiety, self-absorbed ambitions and narcissistic desires that cover us like a blue suit carefully conceals a rotting corpse.

revival. breathe life onto these dry bones so that we can live as an incarnation of your compassion for the poor, proclaim the presence of your Kingdom among the captives of his self-absorbed fiefdom, share a table with our enemies and subvert the hydra of death that is constantly seeking to swallow up life.

revival. on second thought, maybe i can stand the sound of it.

8 comments:

Agent B said...

Wow. Thanks.

You've made my day.

Thanks again.

Mark said...

sweet post!

Landis said...

Yep...good stuff.

Leanne said...

Thanks for this, Jeff.

rob horton said...

Most excellent post brother!

james said...

You know i've told you this many times before, but I'm saying again...

You have a remarkable gift for writing.

This piece was excellently put.

Anonymous said...

Really good post. Thank you for the great thoughts. Michael of TN

misty said...

Thank you thank you for that. Thank you for writing something that inspires my soul and gives me hope and helps me to feel like someone understands what I can't seem to find here in a church.

Thank you for even giving me a little piece of a prayer to pray in this section...for my brothers and sisters who are raw and can't go on.

"revival. renew our body by restoring a healthy connection to our Head, strengthening our hands to serve those in need and hardening our feet so that we might continue on this narrow road that winds its way towards your Kingdom."

Thanks, Jeff. You spoke to me all the way over here in Russia.

And cracked me up.

PS: Your Barbara Streisand post killed me.
PPS: And the line about "humping materials." Hilarious. The other day someone asked me about the song "My Hump" and I had to explain in Russian what does hump mean. Is it a verb or a noun? Well?