Friday, December 09, 2005

Out of Control...

One of my all-time favorite thinkers/writers/protagonists is Len Sweet. If you're not familiar with him...shame, shame. I've only heard him speak once in my life, but it was full of grace, wisdom, and brotherhood.

I stumbled across this on his site today. A lot to chew on, I know. (I wonder what would happen if we dropped the BF&M statement from our church polity and added the Magna Charta of Trust below...

I am part of the Church of the Out-of-Control.

I once was a control junkie, but now am an Out-of-Control Disciple. I've given up my control to God. I trust and obey the Spirit. I've jumped off the fence, I've stepped over the line, I've pulled out all the stops. There's no turning back, looking around, slowing down, backing away, letting up, or shutting up. It's life Against the Odds, Outside the Box, Over the Wall, the game of life played Without Goal Lines other than "Thy Will Be Done . . . ."I am not here to please the dominant culture. I live to please my Lord and Savior. My spiritual taste-buds have graduated from fizz to froth to Fire and Ice. Sometimes I'm called to sharpen the cutting edge, and sometimes to blunt the cutting edge.

Don't give me that old-time religion. Don't give me that new-time religion. Give me that all-time religion that's as hard as rock and as soft as snow.I've stopped trying to make life work, and started trying to make life sing. I am finished with second-hand sensations, third-rate dreams, low-risk high-rise trades and goose-stepping, flag-waving crusades. I no longer live by and for anything but everything God-breathed, Christ-centered, and Spirit-driven.I can't be bought by any personalities or perks, positions or prizes. I won't give up, though I may give in . . . to openness of mind, humbleness of heart, and generosity of spirit. In the face of adversity no longer will I hang in there. I will stand in there, I will run in there, I will pray in there, I will sacrifice in there, I will endure in there -- in fact I will do everything in there but hang. My face is upward, my feet are forward, my eyes are focused, my way is cloudy, my knees are worn, my seat uncreased, my heart burdened, my spirit light, my road narrow, my mission wide.I won't be seduced by popularity, traduced by criticism, travestied by hypocrisy or trivialized by mediocrity.

I am organized religion's best friend and worst nightmare. I won't back down, slow down, shut down, or let down until I'm preached out, teached out, healed out or hauled out of God's mission in the world entrusted to members of the Church of the Out-of-Control . . . to unbind the confined, whether they're the downtrodden or the upscale, the overlooked or the underrepresented.My fundamental identity is as a disciple of Jesus -- but even more, as a disciple of Jesus who lives in Christ, who doesn't walk through history simply "in his steps," but seeks to travel more deeply IN HIS SPIRIT.Until he comes again or calls me home, you can find me filling not killing time so that one day he will pick me out in the lineup of the ages as one of his own. And then . . . it will be worth it all . . . to hear these words, the most precious words I can ever hear:
"Well done, thou good and faithful...Out-of-Control Disciple."

I know, I know. "There's no doctrine in there anywhere." Or is there? thoughts: Sign me up. It's the Revolution I've been looking for.
...your thoughts?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Tale of Two Egos

I'm not sure which is worse. The latest from Pat Robertson or the latest from Joel Osteen.


Spiritual Insomnia

I couldn’t sleep last night. After speaking at our local winter FCA rally, I got home late. My mind was still buzzing at 1:30 this morning when I finally went to bed. After tossing until almost 3am, I dozed off… until 6:30. That happens to me a lot.

So my mind wandered into Fight Club, a movie I’ve seen at least a hundred times, and the I Ching of my life (next to the Scripture). “When you have insomnia, nothing is real. Everything is a copy…of a copy…of a copy.” So states Ed Norton’s character in the movie. BTW, his character’s name is never revealed in the movie…he is Everyman.

Basic truth: Every one of us was born an original. From our fingerprint down to our DNA, there is no one else exactly like any other one of us. We are each remarkably and wonderfully made. You were born an original.

But most of us will die a poor, pathetic copy. Society’s relentless pursuit of squeezing us into a mold never quits. We look like everyone else. Talk like everyone else. Work the same jobs, eat the same food, desire the same stupid gadgets as everyone else. Color inside the lines. Walk single file. Don’t make waves.

The problem is that we were created to be a receptacle of the Divine. To be ordinary is to be only ‘more of the same’. As a human made in God’s image, my being screams out against this with every pore. To be ‘just another one of those’ is deadening agony to me. It has actually driven some people to their death. But it was never God’s intention for you and I to be a copy of anything…except Christ.

Each of us wants to be extraordinary. We were built to count for something. Anything. Placed in a specific context to count in ways that no one else does. That is our destiny.

So what happened?
Climbing the spiritual mountain is sometimes exhausting. The fact is that very few people will ever climb a (real or spiritual) mountain. Most of us will drive or ride up to the top, get out, and take some nice pictures to show our friends. Spiritually, it’s not much different. We don’t want to pay the price to ‘climb’ when we can just ride our way to the Summit.

By the way, you can’t get ‘Summit quality’ gear at the mall. That’s also true spiritually.

And, if you’re going to climb, you need a partner to hold the rope. A copy (who rides his way up just to take pictures)