Monday, April 21, 2008

"Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)" -WW

A couple weeks ago I wrote a little about being strong-willed, so I had to laugh when I heard the illustration used in this message from Status. . .I highly recommend listen to the whole thing, but because you all think you're just so busy I'll let you cheat: skip to about the 24th minute.

I really didn't realize where the message was going at the time, but when I finished listening to it I was exhausted. They began with the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand, focusing on the disciples role and reaction to the situation, then specifically at the significance of the little boy with the bread and fish and how our attitude is vastly different than his. His willingness to give up what he had (all that he had?) to be used by Jesus is not often reflected in our lives. We are so self-focused, its about my wants, my needs, my problems, my accomplishments, my, my, my. . .

But, to say it Colson-style, how now shall we live?
Selflessly. Humbly. Thoughtfully and caringly.

Don't believe me? Ask the dishes!*

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
(Philippians 3:4-8)

For quite awhile I remember supporting the idea that you shouldn't "date the church." I did a little Nancy Drew-ing and figured out that the phrase more-or-less came from Joshua Harris' book Stop Dating the Church. Apparently this guy is against dating anything, girls, churches, etc. . . I wonder how he feels about carbon. . .? But I digress. I haven't read the book, but I believe the general idea is that we are not supposed to choose a church as a consumer. The phrase "don't date the church" has been rolling around in my head for a few weeks now, and the timeliness of Status' message is once again so odd (and yes, by "odd" I do mean "God").

In its plainest form, the lesson is not to ask what your church can give or do for you, but rather what can you offer to and through your church. It looks so pretty as words, but real life has a way of making everything a bit more complicated.

Right now(ish) I need to make a decision, then I need to commit to it, wholeheartedly.
  • One choice means people with similar mindsets and passions, but possibly no opportunities to use specific parts of my story to minister, which is something I know I need to do.
  • The other choice means accepting dissonance between my perspective and theirs, and having little support for causes that are dear to my heart, but possibly having a way to minister through sharing my story.
Quoi? Qui? Comment? Moi aussi. . .

Is it selfish of me to want to surround myself with people who aren't settling, who say "I don't know" but are seeking, who challenge and inspire me, who are brave enough to call me on my junk, who love me despite this junk?
Is it fair to be disappointed that I currently can't find this?
How can I be the catalyst? Am I brave enough to live what I know is true and what I seek to find in others?
*insert I Have Decided (verse 3) here*

I had hoped to find some answers on my little Waldening weekend (ok, I cheated and stayed in a hotel), but I think I came home with more questions than answers.

I'll leave you with one last Status quote, to me it is both relieving and incredibly challenging:
It doesn't take you and me doing "great things" for the kingdom. It doesn't take you standing on a platform and speaking to people. It doesn't take you being able to play music. It takes me and it takes you becoming less and less centered around ourselves and thats when God's kingdom comes.

If I were a gamblin' woman, (which I am not, because (a) I'm poor, and (2) I'm poor) I'd bet that this makes very little sense to anyone, including whatever side of me wakes up and rereads it tomorrow morning.

* And by "dishes" I mean "scriptures," but who doesn't love Lumiere?

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