Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Emerging church = deeper, more substantial, quality relationship?

I'm not so sure anymore right now. Despite a few holdouts, people are still people, no matter what tag you pin to thing....it's just the same ole donky sometimes.

We talk a great game relationally, but we inevitably get pulled elsewhere. By the time we are called to investigate how serious we were back when, are we finding we were really as serious as we thought we were? So much time is lost contemplating...wavering...we don't quite ascertain what we do to flounder our contingent faithful.

Are we being inwardly changed/transformed in all of this ourselves, or are we still flailing in our strength, pounding away on things, trying to issue a massive pump-knot on the noggin of our circumstances?

It starts off good and all....moving from one stage of loneliness and longing and finding others in comparable boats. And some of the vessels were welcome sights....appearing as mighty, tall-masted ships on the horizon bringing comrades-in-arms. So you tie off to one another and continue the voyage, floating to who really knows where, but it's okay, because you're all together, believing the Captain has formed the armada.

But the sea roils, boils and upends, testing our seaworthiness. Some are tragically inundated. Some of us have walked and are perched on planks of our own handiwork, daring the next swell to do its thing. Nicer ships entice to mutinous proportions as well. Some of have cut rope and drift along. Some have to have unbelieveably long tethers and can barely see the fleet.

All around me, my ministry peers that I treasure more than anything....the people I've journeyed with and for whom I'd die to bring up in this way of life....effort has tended to be less than half-and-half (myself included). But I KNOW....this is life. And I KNOW I can't see/know everything. And I KNOW I'm weak, wounded and need sharpened and this vainly skews my perspective. But maybe I just don't really know HOW yet.

The loss-to-gain ratio is puzzling because you can never get a grasp on how things currently "are" with ministry, with your leadership, your people, your friends. Most of the time the encumbrances are daunting and feel mightier than the advances, and the damnedest thing is that I might be the problem most of the time. If I were better than- more than- what I am now, how much more so would those around me be?

I am a relational mutt and I err in holding on too tightly because the pervasive feeling that I've lost so liberally. Early in my life, the security of relational boundaries were muddied profusely and often and when I came to the One Who'll never leave nor forsake, well, I tumbled headlong. So I thrive on the security apparent and possible (but not always manifested) within brothers and sisters in Christ when they say, "here am I." So I guess I just don't do well when these relationships are tenously unclear. It's risk, risk, risk...pure risk, and my weaknesses are not as safe as they once were.

Neither being the spokesman nor the paragon of healthy, consistent relational modeling, suffice it to say, this is why this is hard sometimes. For me at least.