Thursday, July 26, 2007

In the singles culture it's called speed-dating. You go to a pre-arranged location and date several people for about 10-15 minutes. After this you can decide if you want a second date or not.

then again,

There is a long series of historical precidents for pre-arranged marriages. Two families, usually led by patriarchs make the decision for you.

I guess I did both. I sent out resumes and did some speed dating, and then accepted what I discerned was the pre-arranged marriage of my Father in heaven in coming to 5 stones.

And 5 stones, is the first church I did not get hired from within in. So usually it was a pre-arranged fact that I was already functioning as a churches pastor.

but this is different.

Every time I preach or go to someones house for dinner it feels like a speed-date again.

  • What if I say the wrong thing?

  • How real can I really be?

  • Should my guard be up or down?

  • Are they safe or not?

  • What do they need or want me to be?

  • Is there a hidden agenda?

  • What if they reject my sense of humor?

  • What if I trip over a wound, passion, or perspective they tightly hold to?

Can you "feel" that? I have a title but have not earned any trust, and that, for me, is awkward as heck.

But God says. Just be yourself, as best you can and see what happens. Which I suppose brings up our darkest fear. "What if who I am, is worthy of rejection and abandonment?"

And yet, God who truly knows us doesn't reject us, and naturally His church should act like Him. So I suppose that is part of my mission here. To accept and love without conditions, agendas, judgment, etc. And in such a place of empathy, to teach my church family to do the same. Not that love doesn't come with the responsibility to confront, it does; but always in the context of speaking the truth in the garments and with the motivation of pure love.

and I do feel loved. Here I am a stranger, invited by hospitality into peoples homes almost every night. It makes me so proud of this church, because if they know how to love me...a stranger...they can love everyone here in Ashland.

"So, dear God. Make 5 stones a place and a people who make everyone in Ashland feel loved. Help us make them all feel welcomed and wanted. Help us to love people as you do, not because of titles or any other reason; but to love purely because we-like you-ARE love."




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