Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Bible...too sexy...for church

Strange teaching experience: I'm in my office working on a talk for this Sunday morning called "Boom-chicka-wow-wow." It's about relational intimacy, which leads to physical intimacy. And I'm making the point that God's view of sex is more than just biological.

And as a proof text there's this gem of a book called Song of Songs. And chapter 7 is perfect to use to underscore the point except that...well...that particular passage of God's Word is too sexy for church. Talk about conflicted.

(Inner dialogue with myself)

"This is PERFECT. Talk about God's idea of 'Boom-chicka-wow-wow.'"

"NO WAY. This is way too much for Sunday morning!"

"Dude, it's GOD'S WORD."

"Dude, there's going to be kids in the room!"

"Hmm. Good point."

So what a conflicted emotion to realize that God's Word is too sexy for His House. Strange days.

Not growing up in church and knowing anything about this unique Song of Songs book in the Bible, I clearly remember stumbling upon it for the first time. It actually arroused my libido. It is sensual poetry. Stimulating. And it's God's Word. You gotta love God.

Monday, May 12, 2008

the great Oz

Years ago when I was even more spiritually immature than I am now, my friend Jeremy gave me a copy of My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. May 12th's devotional is a good example of why I am still in awe of what God has breathed through Mr. Chambers.
Check it out.

Monday, May 5, 2008

same, samer, samest

I'm Facebooked out--i.e. the daily "see how much our personality's alike" or "see which music we have in common" or "see which smells we both love" quizes in my in-box.

It's made me think about how Facebook is designed so that all the people who like the same things can find each other. And that's great...or maybe it is...and maybe it isn't.

It seems even though the word "diversity" gets thrown around a lot in the culture, we're really into people who dig what we're into. And we're really into slamming things and people we're not into--or perhaps trying to set them straight.

It feels very me-centric with a bit of and I don't care about stuff they like mixed in. If the '70s was the Me Decade maybe the '00s are the Me plus everthing I think about my stuff justified in my blog decade. (See how this very blog proves my very me-centric point?)

I'm sensing that open-mindedness is a rare fruit. It feels like our minds are open just enough to hear another's position; then it closes and launches into why you should come over to my side. And "my side" can be political (oy), musical, religious, fashion---everything. Because we have opinions about it all, baby.

I'm caught here without any conclusion...feeling indicted by my own post...examing my own motives... and strong opinions.

Perhaps to be continued...(but I won't be Twittering about it. As if the minutia of my day captivates you...)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Praying & Plowing

“Praying is good, but praying doesn’t plow the field.” -Amish saying.

Last week I did the message in our church and used that saying. I jokingly said, “It’s my new life verse.” A week later it may not be a joke. I think for everything that’s off-course in my life and in my church—this phrase hits between the eyes.

I just started in on Pop Goes the Church and Tim Stevens mentioned how most churches pray about evangelism but that’s about it. And I thought, “…Praying doesn’t plow the field.”

In our church we’re underdeveloped in helping people mature in their faith and in reaching out to people in need outside our stylish walls. “…Praying doesn’t plow the field.”

I’m unhappy with my weight and habits. “…Praying doesn’t plow the field.”

And the flipside is true. For everything that’s right in my life, family and church, there’s been plowing.

Our church is a great place to bring people who don’t go to church. “We’ve plowed the field.”

Our church staff is authentic; sometimes painfully so. “We’ve plowed the field.”

I love Sandra—she’s an unbelievable wife. “We’ve plowed the field.” (That’s supposed to read as a “G” rated metaphor, Monty.)

Aside from physically, I’m pretty happy with who & where I am. “I’ve plowed the field.” Boy, have I plowed a lot of manure...

And there’s the first part of the saying, “Praying is good.” Anyone disagree? But there are days when we wrongly think it’s easier to plow. Maybe it’s the tangibility of plowing vs. the mystery of praying.

We’re working on a strategic plan with a team at our church. This is a new process for us. We’re moving in the dark. I just ordered a book on strategic planning from Amazon. I think collectively we’re plowing more than praying.

I think the key to, “Praying is good, but praying doesn’t plow the field,” is embracing how much God wants to be in it. I feel He wants to be in the first part all the time. Everyday. Everything. Every challenge. Every great thing. Everything.

And I feel He doesn’t want us to plow alone. When I picture myself with my hands on a plow (huge stretch---I’m a city boy with uncalloused hands), I think the right image is God’s bigger, stronger hands on top of mine, His taller stature shadowing me, and He’s not sweating.

It’s easy to ignore the relationship of plowing—to feel alone in the grinding out of life and our job—even a church job. Why do I ignorantly think of work as a solo task, while relating with God summons images of me in a quiet room alone.

My best memories of times with my kids are not pictures of sitting in the living room talking. They’ve been in the context of doing—“plowing the field.” So why do I think God and me should be so different?

“Praying is good, but praying doesn’t plow the field.”