What I'm Writing
This month, dear reader, I'm taking a brief break from these weekly updates to work on a new novel that's been kicking around in my brain. I'll try to post occasional updates, but suspect my writing brain will be tired from all the exercise required to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
For those unfamiliar with the practice here's a link: http://nanowrimo.org/
I heard the founders of this organization give a talk on Youtube recently, in which they said something like, creative projects so rarely have a deadline. The genius of this program is it gives people a deadline to meet, a chance to risk creating something, and a community to become a part of during the struggle. That almost sounds like what the church could be, at least if the mission, is seeking something like justice, or offering mercy, or showing love to the world.
So, dear readers, wish me luck!
And, if I might give you some homework for the month, find a deadline for something that matters to you, be it in church or your life. Give yourself both permission and a reason to take the leap and fight the good fight.
Here it is: the pivot we are all facing.
As Church, we are in a place where the magic words have failed. The plans we made don’t match the geography we are living in. And, the hopes we had, where we placed our faith, might not be the plans God has for us.
Makes no difference what denomination, creed, or congregation you belong to.
This is the pivot.
Looking back over these little pivots, these points when my life changed, I tried to impose some order. I wanted to find a great story that encapsulates them. Some great Biblical truth, or truism, or some great slogan that will tie my life up into a neat little bow.
I don’t really have one.
The best I can do is offer what I did in a previous post: Notice. Love. And Let Go.
When we talk about spiritual transformation, when I do at least, it is this process that I am mostly referring to.
So, what is the Good News?
The Good News is these pivots are never really what we think they are. We know what they feel like. We worry about what they mean. We try to approach them the best we can.
And We Let Go.
Honestly, openly, humbly and faithfully.
Because, friends, the world is watching.
The church has never been more exposed to the world than it is right now.
Every wart, bit of tarnish, and blemish will be drawn out for the world to see.
And, the world will sneer. Is this the best your God can do? Fallen. Sinful. Broken people. Living lives worthy of scorn?
And, we will answer: yes.
And, God will answer, yes, and Not Only That, I will still send my only son.
Because, whenever we feel alone, broken, and battered, and the darkness is closing in…
The Good News, friends, is that Jesus is right there beside us, crying with us, loving us, and urging us on.
And, that friends, is what we offer.
Not gold or silver. Large crowds. Or, the latest and greatest.
This humble savior is all we have ever had, and we only keep him, by giving him away.
Looking back over your own faith, what sorts of pivots stand out to you? Leave a comment. Share a story. Touch a life. And, thanks for reading, Pastor J.
A friend in ministry, once asked me of a congregation I was serving, “have you ever really told them your story?”
And, I have come to think, I think so, but then, I’ve made that mistake before. I always assume that my life and its story is sort of an open book, which most of the people I know can just pick up and know. I think this might be the age in which I have grown up in, filled with instant access, shocking public exposure, and places, like Facebook, which tell you far too much about just anybody.
Since, we’re in stewardship season now; it seems fitting to offer some of how I have lived these years God has given me. If only, because, I think, if I were you, I might like to know a little more about this guy who came last September.
I suspect, I hope, I figure, most of you will know some of this, but, frankly, I honestly suspect you don’t really know. And, for my new readers, I apologize in advance; I’m not usually this self-focused or self talky.
Into all this expectation: here goes.
I’m a Connecticut Yankee, a grandson, of two old Connecticut dairy farmers. I lived down the road, less than a mile, from my Grandfather Rood, Gampy, as we called him. (No idea)
Our family plowed, hayed, and tended that little plot of land for generations.
Same story on my mother’s side, only, in Washington, CT.
Some farming connection brought my parents together.
I attended a local regional school. Went to UConn.
Moved to New Hampshire after school. Became a reporter. Went to seminary. Searched.
And, moved to the Pioneer Valley.
Ordained in the church I grew up in; where I was baptized; and I suspect where they will hold my funeral.
So, that’s my basic biography.
I suspect you could draw a circle around all the places I’ve ever lived and it wouldn’t be very big. Maybe a few hundred miles?
Not much of interest there, beyond the fun of geography and dates, maybe the “did you know, so and so…”
Not much new there either. I suspect all of you know this sort of information.
I think what interests me, at least at this moment, are the pivots.
The places where things change. Where I was something, or lived somewhere or did something; and then things changed.
To make this a little more Biblical: Mark tells us the Rich Man had been living one way, had an encounter with Jesus, and decided to go back to living the way he did before. Jesus gave him that out: sell your stuff, give it away, and follow me.
And, the guy couldn’t.
These little pivots, big and little, are what make life interesting, right?
Looking back over your own life, what sorts of pivots stand out to you? Leave a comment. Share a story. Touch a life. And, thanks for reading, Pastor J.