May 21st, 2010

BIG PICTURE: Alick asked me to consider a ritual to draw this sabbatical to a close. I was content to wait for the ritual to “come to me” and it did on the Tuesday before I left for the hike. The Men’s Group invited Brenda and I to their meeting so they could pray for us. It was great. We felt loved on and understood and warm-fuzzies, etc. There was a guy there  named Steve who I’d not met before and doesn’t attend AC3. He alluded to having been in full time ministry, and having taken a sabbatical. He advised that I not miss what God has in store, and that like Joshua after crossing the Jordan, I find a way to “mark” the occasion. That was it. A pyre of stones. I knew that was the ticket though I didn’t have all the details (still don’t) But I do have this much: I will choose a stone to represent each week of the sabbatical (modeling the measuring of weeks that Wayne’s Lantern represents) and I will stack them in a place when this is done.

(The Men’s group, lead by Wayne, constructed a lantern with 10 openings in it through which light shined, to be installed in our yard to mark our absence from AC3 for the 10 weeks of the sabbatical…like leaving a “light on” while  I was gone)

As I looked for a stone for the week it occurred to me to name them:

Week 1:           Poustinia (the desert)

Week 2:           Darkness

Week 3:           Corruption

Brenda hung out with me for a couple of hours. We walked on the beach and talked. I think we “connected”. It was nice.

CLASS WORK: Wonder of wonders Miracle of miracles! After slogging through this morning’s segment of O.T. Theology, a burst of cool fresh water as Barton Payne began a segment on “types” and “symbology”! It was educational, engaging, inspiring and RELEVANT!

Lemme ‘splain:

A couple of weeks ago, after having been exposed to some awful, heretical teaching, I was left (with among other feelings) a sense of frustration that I felt ill-equipped to offer a solid, academic argument as to exactly WHY this teaching was heretical. Yes, there were several theological issues that I could point to, but those kinds of things can often be swept away as a “misunderstanding” when they are confronted. But Mr. Barton gave a solid, academic, understandable and Biblical basis to say to this guy (or anyone else for that matter), “What you are teaching is wrong..and here is exactly why…” Way to go Barton!

READ/RITE/REFLECT; MBE: I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. In SO many ways this segment of the book is like SO many others. Here’s a guy who’s “done it” pounding on me about vision, and dreaming big, and trying to find new ways to describe the burning , God-given vision in my gut that’s under threat of being extinguished. He has a few blank lines on page 59 with the lead-in words, “I dream of…” I hate this guy. I hate him and Bill Hybels and Steve Wile and  Erwin McManus and John Eldredge and God help me, I hate Brennan Manning. All these guys “get there” and then turn around and write these books. (Except Steve..but he WOULD if he could and I know it!)

I’m mad because it still gets to me. I sit here crying out of frustration. I feel like such a fool for buying this shit!

But nothing makes my heart pound like imagining what the church could do, on seeing Jesus good name restored, on seeing REAL people reached with the Good News, on seeing suffering reduced, on seeing the truth being lived out. I want to see the church become the beautiful Bride that Jesus deserves and NOTHING drives me harder than that! So this stuff gets me…like a sappy, single, overly romantic 46 year old virgin who’s never been married watching “Sleepless in Seattle” or “The Notebook”…I’m hooked like a trout.

So, through all my frustration/skepticism/excitement/anger/passion he (the author) mentions that one of the books that inspired him was “The Celtic Way of Evangelism” by George Hunter. Shit…you’re kidding!? He goes on to say how St. Patrick (and Celtic Christianity as a whole) modeled hospitality and relationship as the mechanism for sharing faith…it lead him toward the idea of a hotel. Did I mention all this happened to him in Woodinville…20 miles from my house!

This doesn’t lead me in the hotel direction, but the principles are nothing if not transferable.

Now I feel even MORE frustration/skepticism/excitement/anger/passion! He goes on to totally send me over the edge by quoting Bill Hybels directly (D’oh!!!): “Vision Leaks”.

Sonnofa…!

I guess I’m mad because I’m getting called out somehow. I’m trying to look cool and un-affected when I walk out of the theater. I don’t want to look like one of those guys who’s a sucker for a chick-flick. But the truth is: I’m a sucker for a compelling vision of the church!

There! I said it!

He does emphasize waiting on God. So I’ll wrap this little rant up by tossing out the 6 things I have in front of me, and I’ll now include a 7th that has exploded onto my mind again after having been forgotten for a little while. I write them down with the intent of honestly acknowledging with no shame, that each one is BURNING inside me like 10 fires, and also of offering them up as prayers: God, Please.

Contemplative (life style)

Celtic Christianity

Simple Living

Social Action

Intentional Community

Business as ministry

My Father’s House and Property

BUT….”patient endurance.”

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