Monday, November 13, 2006

Mentally Handi-capped?

Once a month I get paid to watch college sports on TV. That probably sounds fun for many but I'm not the biggest college sports fan (or a fan of watching any sport on TV). What is fun is that while watching these sports I hang out with a 20-year old (not sharing his name) who is mentally handi-capped. I use that term "mentally handi-capped" knowing that he is far from such a description.

In his room, stands a sort of prom picture with a girl and him embracing each other. Of course being the tease that I am, I comment with: "Oooh I saw a picture of you and a girl." In his somewhat contemplative loud voice he responds, "Yeah...that's Sara (not real name). I liked her a lot. She like me lot." I continue, "Oh yeah? Ooooh." And then he throws me into a new world. He responds, "She died earlier this summer." I pause with an internal regret for ever bringing her up. But I decided to keep going in humaness: "Oh. Does that make you sad?" Reponse: "Hmm...yeah, but I liked her a lot. And she liked me a lot. We really liked each other."

There joy together was more important than his sadness for her death. He granted an illumination that I have been to selfish to truly consider. He taught me a little of what it means to love and be human. In his world, death is not all that odd. People die. In our world, we are obsessed with making sure people live as long as our machines can provide life. How would we live with each other if we realized that the people in front of us could die tomorrow or even today? I don't know how to answer this, because my Western influence draws me to label the question morbid and dismiss it. It's not morbid. It's human life. I think we would care for each other with a stronger love if we accepted that we are human; not immortal. Perhaps we would enjoy each other.

Just a thought I have been recently called to ponder: To enjoy each other is to enjoy God.

memorabilia to throw away.

I remember a time when I would pray for God to help me with a decision and try to discern the answer through the feeling I had by the moment I said, "Amen." I write this because this wrong. It is the result of gnostic influence on Protestant churches. Thank God we (the Church) are currently being purged of such teachings. Christian teenagers around the Western world now have a greater opportunity to live life on earth. Thank God for the Incarnation. Thank God for Jesus who prays and leaves the results to the interaction between human free will and our Holy Spirit. Instead of praying for situations to work the way we want, perhaps we should pray for new hearts; for the very Love of God in our being. Perhaps we can pray for the courage to love and be vulnerable to misfortune. May we live in and among Creation and be thankful.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Desktop Confessionals

I used to hate the word "pastor." Even during my first 3 years of undergrad while studying for ministry, I simply could not stand the idea of that word being attached to me. But you know, maybe that feeling was not so odd. I mean who wants to be called the very thing that has seemed irrelevant for the millions of thoughtful people who reject being part of the Church? Who wants to spend a good 20 hours preparing a message that must be spoken and heard through a forest of yawns? Who wants to accept the title that also describes people who have exalted themselves only to hurt people in the end through verbal, emotional, and even sexual abuse? The idea of "pastor" seemed completely irrelevant and even ugly to me for a while, but not any more. So I ask: who would be willing to accept the title of a hurtful and seemingly irrelevant group of people? God.

God in humility allowed "human" to be attached to Godself. When we read Jesus saying things like "The Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost," we could read it (with integrity) "The Human has come to seek and save the lost." When humans are killing and cheating each other for the sake of selfish gain (hurtful and irrelevant to Life), God becomes flesh (human) and accepts this title/being for the sake of redeeming it. I currently attend a church in which I am experiencing the position/title of pastor being redeemed. My pastors--Mindy and Josh--are a married couple probably around 27 years old. Their care for the church is not simply that we would grow or that we would feel good. They are patiently calling the church to be faithful disciples--potentially martyrs--for the Kingdom. Sermons are intentionally creative but only as much to let the Message lead and be heard. And leadership is available for all and in many ways demanded. This isn't a church growth method. Actually our church is committed to being small--about 75 people. If we get to 100, people are encouraged to leave and start a new small church. Our church doesn’t claim nor govern any of these new churches. Well all of this is to say: I don't hate the word "pastor" anymore. I know this because I am willing to be one if God leads me that way. But if that is where I'm led, I hope to be there redemptively. Thanks, Mindy and Josh.