Saturday, January 29, 2011

Here's where I'm headed...

So here's a little bit more of the back story of how I got to be where I am...

I love the church.  I believe very strongly in the need for fellowship and attachment to the body.  I haven't had that much over the last few years, and it's put me in a really vulnerable position.  But I also have a strong calling as a minister of reconciliation in the world.  I don't always know how to balance those things.  About the time when I started feeling like I had to fight the spiritual battle on 2 fronts - against the church and against spiritual forces of evil in the world - was when I stopped being as committed to church as I'd grown up being.  About 10 years ago, my church at that time taught me that sometimes the church can stand between its people and doing the work of God.  The institution of the church is something that I still struggle with and have a hard time trusting because I've seen in the past how it's hurt people, and how it stopped me from doing something I believed God called me to do.

What I currently view as my calling in the church was dropped in my lap when my friend asked me to write a book for her.  This calling to be somewhat of a spokesperson between 2 worlds - the world of the church and the world of the "world" so to speak.  I have all of the appropriate skills and giftings and experience for this.  Growing up with a theologian as a father and in the church, I know the language that's necessary.  I know the issues that church people have with post-modern and post-christian culture.  But I also see the other side of things and have a healthy distrust of institutions myself.  I share modern and post-modern values in a weird concoction that is also mixed in with Asian and American values - it's a mixture that probably exists almost no where else.  I resisted this calling for a long time.  I didn't believe I could do it.  I didn't want to do it.  I didn't want to give up what had become a comfortable place in the world as just a nice Christian who loved people one by one and probably would never be around to see the harvest of lives transformed because of how transitional my community is and how nonconfrontational I am.  I am great at being the person to help a person get rid of the hostility, but I had given up on being around to be able to walk with people through the actual gates of faith and transformation.

And yet here I am and several of my friends are on the threshold, and I see now that I have to make the transition here too.  I have to be one (hopefully among many others who are doing this around the nation) to learn to translate the truths of Scripture and of early spiritual formation and discipleship and figure out how to communicate those things in today's world.  I'm burdened not only to discover this for myself but also to develop resources that can be given away to provide for the church at large.  I don't know this, but I think it's very possible that I could spend a lot of time teaching and training this stuff once I figure it out.

So that's what I'm doing right now--developing resources, trying them out, and then posting them here and providing them on my website.  I'm in the uncomfortable position of trying to develop something that fits with culture as it is now (read non-linear/story-based) and then put it into linear/modern-thinking form so that it can be taught and learned.  It would be much more natural and culturally appropriate to teach it one person at a time so that it could be caught rather than abstracted so that it can go further and wider.  Only time will tell whether we'll be successful or not, but I can't shake the feeling that this is what I'm supposed to be doing.

My current project is to develop a short series of narratives to use in storying that will show what some of the key encounters with Jesus from the Bible looked like and how they changed the lives of the people who encountered him.  I'll start posting the first of those soon.

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