Thursday, August 23, 2007

Working for "The Man"

Today was my first day back in the saddle with my local ministry context after over a week spent in meetings in denominational environments. In my last post, I mentioned a quick trip to Atlanta. For the past few days I was in some regional denominational meetings in the Portland, OR area. By the time my car rolled into my driveway late yesterday afternoon, I was definitely ready to be home, and back in my element. Over the past several days, I've spent some good time with some really terrific people - some of whom I would count as close friends. But being in the buildings, and seeing the kinds of money and mentality that "we" employ in the name of our organizational mission and purposes can be really frustrating. At one point yesterday I found myself quite agitated and angry.

I don't need to get into a gripe session here, but let's just say that I have some very serious questions/doubts/concerns about my tribe. Anyone who knows me knows that this is nothing new, but believe it or not, there are times when I flirt with optimism, thinking that we might just be able to reform ourselves some day to get farther away from religion and power and security, and closer to the dangerous, prophetic ways of the Kingdom of heaven. Yesterday, I flirted with darker thoughts - things will never change, and I'm wasting my time and efforts in trying to prop up a system that's doomed.


Fortunately, I was reminded that one of the strengths of my denomination is that it gives people like me a lot of latitude and freedom to chuck all of the political b.s. and stay on track with the things I know I'm called to do. And when I stay in rhythm with that stuff, the other rubbish is only as annoying as I allow it to be. I know that the likelihood of bringing about any significant change in systems is remote (at best), but I also know that that's not what I'm supposed to do here. I know why I'm here, and I'm going to go after it - if my denomination wants to support that and sign a paycheck for it, that's great. If not, that's fine, too - I'll still do what I'm supposed to do.

I have a greater distaste for religion today than I did a week ago. And that's a good thing. I hope I have a greater distaste for religion next week than I do now.

Labels: ,

posted by Steve at 4:21 PM
link |

2 Comments:

Blogger Petey commented at 7:41 AM~  

so weird, Steve...
I had a similar experience in my denom this past week. Seems like something inescapable for the current time, but I'm willing to let myself be paid to seek God in our context.

Anonymous Morgan Owen commented at 8:26 AM~  

Steve,

I kind of understand the struggles your talking about and the challenges in our denom. I look at the lack of sacrificing being done by the higher up levels.

Yet, I have to look at my own life and wonder if the same could be said for me. Would that be the thought Paul would have about the way I conduct ministry? Would he feel that way about the church I attend?

This hits home with Paul's words from 2 Corinthians:

"Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

2 Cor. 11:23-30 (ESV)

Want to Post a Comment?

back to main page



spirit farmer data

I'm Steve Lewis. This used to be my blogging home. My online home is now at SpiritFarmer.com. When this blog was my active online home, I lived in Seattle. Now I live in London, UK. I follow Jesus (poorly most of the time), worship simply, read a lot, watch culture, go to school, listen to music, write, enjoy art, and drink a lot of coffee.
e-mail me: spiritfarmer@gmail.com
xml



seattle spots

victrola coffee
zoka coffee
university of washington
church of the apostles
quest church
sanctuary church
shoreline vineyard


sites i visit

off the map
theooze
next-wave
metacritic
nt wright



a few of the blogs in the feedreader

tallskinnykiwi
jason evans
joe boyd
kevin rains
alan creech
chris marshall
bill bean
eugene cho
jordon cooper
dwight friesen
john chandler
amy palmer
ryan bolger
rudy carrasco
ryan sharp
sings in the sunshine
rick bennett
scot mcknight
karen ward
alan hirsch
dan kimball
petey crowder



i'm reading it

colossians remixed
africa unchained



i finished reading it - 2007

generation me
jesus and the restoration of israel
god's continent
glocalization
globalizing theology
gustavo gutierrez: essential writings
jesus and the eyewitnesses
garlands of grace
twenty poems to nourish your soul
the black swan
dancing in the streets
made to stick
signs in contemporary culture
hit the bullseye
revolution
the politics of jesus
readings in christian ethics
toward old testament ethics
the kite runner
principles of conduct
velvet elvis
the irresistable revolution
they like jesus, but not the church
the great omission
ishmael
charisma: the gift of grace, and how it has been taken from us
the starfish and the spider
a perfect mess
the world cafe
the new faces of christianity
leaving church
journeying in faith
the creed
creators
transforming mission
metaphors we live by
foolishness to the greeks
personal knowledge



states i've spent time: 2007

washington
texas
british columbia
oregon
california
georgia
oh yeah, denmark, too



i wrote it

managing conflict in the 'new world'
music review: over the rhine
film review: bonhoeffer
music review: fighting jacks
film review: the passion of the christ
how reality tv changes lives
the best tv article you've ever read
corks & caps: a wine lover's story of change
america's idols
random, disorganized thoughts about life after the katrina disaster
missional . . . plain and simple
on becoming post-gnostic



i blogged it

04/01/2002 - 05/01/2002
05/01/2002 - 06/01/2002
06/01/2002 - 07/01/2002
07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002
08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002
09/01/2002 - 10/01/2002
10/01/2002 - 11/01/2002
11/01/2002 - 12/01/2002
12/01/2002 - 01/01/2003
01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003
02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003
03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003
04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003
05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003
06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003
07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003
08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003
09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003
10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003
11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003
12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008


misc

Google
flickr
wikipedia



Tweaked from a design by mela