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Posts Tagged ‘calling’

Who Am I?

Here we are, almost 4 years after stepping through the doors of my current church. Sadly, I “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. More accurately, I haven’t been able to be fully present as myself. I feel constrained to fit in within the boundaries and the borders inherent in traditional church life. Honestly, at times I feel caged. All I want is to be me, to be able express myself in the liberty of the Spirit. As Bruce Lee said, “To me, ultimately, martial arts means honestly expressing yourself.”

Who am I?  Well, at times,  I am a provocateur, who loves to challenge the status quo and stir things up, especially in the midst of dry and rigid formalism and traditions, and shallow and sentimental silliness.

I’m also a philosopher who loves to reflect deeply on ideas and eschews superficial thoughts. I am insatiably curious. I will question everything.

At times I’m a reluctant prophet who is grieved at the current state of the church and longs to call people back to the simplicity that is in Christ.

Other times, I am a poet/painter, yearning for a deeper connection to the people and world around me, longing to be able to express my deepest desires, to paint what is possible here and now—yet knowing that ultimate fulfillment and flourishing awaits the eschaton.

In my better moments, I aspire to shepherd others [1 Tim. 3:1], hoping to function as a failing and faltering pastor-teacher (minus the clericalism) who is burdened to feed the flock with healthy food, to care for them deeply, to protect them, and to lead them beside the still waters. Perhaps those days are past for this tired old soul? Or perhaps because only professionals are recognized as qualified?

Lastly, there is a part of me that shall always be the prodigal: running away from my Father and then crawling back on my knees, begging for forgiveness.

Right now, at this juncture, I feel the church needs to hear the prophetic voice, but alas, “a prophet is not accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4:24; ISV).

“But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord
    or speak in his name,
his word burns in my heart like a fire.
    It’s like a fire in my bones!
I am worn out trying to hold it in!”
– Jer. 20:9 (NLT)

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Crossroads

On Sep 13 I received an email from the lead teaching pastor (we’ll call him Gary) informing me of his resignation from the church I belong to. I was shocked and saddened but not totally surprised. Why was I not surprised?  Because in February of this year, a colleague at work predicted he would be gone before the year was over. Indeed, just 2 days prior to receiving the resignation email, my colleague sent me this email:

Next year will be a new beginning for your church.
Focus your energy to prepare the church in the era after the change happens.

Don’t ask me how he knew. I’m not sure he even knows!

NOTE: this post is NOT about Gary and NOT about trying to analyze why he left. It’s actually about my own journey and how this is but one event in a series of events that have happened during the past year or so.

(more…)

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