Friday, March 2, 2012

Losing and finding, re-visited

This has been an incredible week. It began with the first monthly Sunday "Service" collaborative between The Well at Springfield and St. John's Lutheran. It was such a great day of moving beyond our comfortable places of worship to know and serve the neighborhood. On that same day, I headed to Atlanta for a long-awaited visit with friends and colleagues, and participation in the 2012 Self Preaching Lectures, featuring Brian McLaren. It was a busy, but rich few days of re-connection and learning. Upon returning, I had the joy of sharing about church planting with a group of 5th and 6th graders. The rest of the week, I was busy preparing for this Sunday's worship and for our first week-night potluck gathering. That gathering in our home last night was a true gift as one of our Well participants shared his story with such courage and humility.

In all of the busyness and goodness, I am drawn to center on the idea of losing and finding. This recurrent theme of letting go and discovering seems to naturally flow out of where I find myself on the journey. While surrounded by colleagues at my seminary Alma mater, I was confronted with some "letting go of" that maybe I had not even realized I had chosen. As I sat back listening to presentations and dialogue by esteemed pastors of prominent churches, it hit me that I am not moving in that direction. I recognized, more powerfully than I have in the past, that starting a missional Christian community that some would not even consider a real "church" has put me in a different place. This certainly does not negate or even diminish the relationships I share with these friends, but it does put me in a different category.

I've been reflecting on this realization, and it has prompted me to make a list of things I am losing and finding on this divergent path. Many of these things are in progress, but they are being lost or found nonetheless:

I am losing... (and, sometimes have a hard time letting go of...)
  • My ability and energy to engage in conversations about the politics and upward mobility of other people in my profession
  • A defined goal or ending place for this church starting venture
  • A need to fulfill others' expectations
  • The need to control the conversation, to be responsible for the outcome, to fix things
  • Identity with those in places of power
  • Predictions
I am finding...
  • People inviting me to hear about their struggles, disappointments and perceived failures in ministry
  • A new and refreshing sense of being present/in the moment/depth that leads to the next step
  • An appreciation for who and where God is calling me to be (yeah, this is definitely a daily struggle)
  • A growing awareness of my inability to fix everything that is broken, and much needed surrender to God who can
  • Identity with those who are in need of healing
  • Possibilities
The truth is that we all make choices (some we are more conscious of than others) that lead us in certain directions. It's helpful for me, and maybe for you as well, to stop and consider what we've chosen to leave behind, and what we're discovering along the way.