Monday, June 26, 2006

stream o’ consciousness

i’ve spoken quite a bit lately about how frustrated i am with my occupation. i’ve bitched about commerce, poked incessant fun at sentimental somethings and generally refused to put on my big girl panties and deal with it. out of fear of being dooced, most of these posts that discuss these matters were displayed only for a couple of hours and are now languishing in “draft” status. if for some reason i am fired again or decide to move on, these blatherings might spring free from blogger purgatory for your reading pleasure, but until that time you’ll have to trust that they’re there.

anyway, i’ve been bitching a bit about my occupation, but have spoke nary a word about my vocation. as for the latter pursuit, i must admit that my conceptual horizons are expanding, my spirit has been buoyed by fellow travelers upon the journey and i am learning to enjoy life as a provocateur and part of the kingdom instead of as an overseer of an institution. a number of experiences, conversations and circumstances have been reshaping my understanding and embrace of my vocation, but i only have time to mention a few.

one of the most intriguing conversations i’ve had over the past month was with steve holt at the recent emergent co-hort meeting. after we had finished our burgers and we’re making headway on our second beers, i asked steve what he and his wife chrissy’s vision for their ministry was. to this rather limiting question he gave a beautiful answer: we want to participate in God’s Kingdom in boston. he could have said that they wanted to plant a church, or feed the hungry or proclaim the gospel, but instead he suggested that they moved out here to participate in God’s thing, in God’s way, for the good of God and those who are created in His image. as i’ve reflected on steve’s statement over the past couple of weeks i have been overwhelmed by it’s beauty and simplicity and, in all honesty, have begun to realize how well his words provide shape to my own experience and calling. i used to have my sights set on a number of pursuits such as planting more home churches, increasing the percentage of people in our community who serve with beverly bootstraps and finding a way to speak on behalf of the poor and help provide them with a voice for the 40 hours of my occupational week. i still think those pursuits are important, but i’m now beginning to realize that they are all by-products of a life that is dedicated to finding, investing in and celebrating God’s Kingdom. i seriously doubt i can express how important this line of thought is to me.

by the way, in the midst of a conversation with my spiritual director last night, i stumbled across another little epiphany that was alluded to up above. that is, the Kingdom of God is something that is found - like a treasure in a field - not something that we can construct – like a certain tower that we’ve all read about (and, irony of ironies, i’ve heard a mega-church has included a reproduction of in its children’s playland). i suspect that individuals and communities that seek to find this Kingdom alongside sinner and saint, rather than trying simply provide seekers with our theological, communal and psychological constructions, will be much healthier than not.

here i’m tempted to talk about how i also suspect that Jesus was much more focused on deconstructing institutions (think of prophecies concerning and actions within the Jerusalem temple) than we’ve ever realized so that he could truly welcome us into the missional movements of the Spirit and the ever-expanding confines of the Kingdom…but i probably don’t have the theological expertise and definitely don’t have the time to talk about such things.

finally, a number of my friends are reminding me that henri was so right when he suggested that leaders need to be led. throughout the last couple of months, a number of my friends have been challenging me to let go of my fear, be who God has created me to be and persevere on this road of faith to which i have been called (and not a few of us share). their companionship has been reshaping my understanding of self and enabling me to serve God’s Kingdom and people more effectively. words cannot express my appreciation for these brothers.

now i’m going to do what i almost never do: post without editing and/or revising. my apologies.


Mike Houghton said...

Thanks for the reminder that the kingdom of God is found... like a treasure in a field instead of constructed by our hands.

My wiring leads me to construct... to force... to engineer the circumstances... to control. Trust is so elusive. And scary.

d10 said...

i just feel compelled to echo mike here. that just strikes me as an incredible insight that i've never pieced together quite so clearly before. well said. very well said.