Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Right Mindfulness

I cannot recall of the top of my head whether Right Mindfulness is a term I picked up from reading the Tao of Pooh or from Buddhism classes in college, but it seems like a particularly striking notion to me now. Not because I am finding myself in the right frame of mind, but because I am reminded time and time again that it is important. One of the great challenges of church planting ... I think more than simply being the pastor of a more established congregation is the day to day waves that shift and challenge my perspectives, my right mindfulness. One day I will feel like I am riding high, things are going well and the next I will find myself mired in the midst of challenges, faced with the overwhelming knowledge of everything that is still to be done. The challenge seems to be that everything in church planting is so fluid, or at least it feels that way. I am reminded of the line from a hymn "on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand." While I try to live that out in some ways I feel Christ is not the rock on which I stand, but the lighthouse that I orient myself towards in the midst of a storm. Though the waves go up and down, I face towards Christ ... that is the right mindfulness that I seek.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cleaning House

When I was a kid I was terrible at doing my chores around the house ...
ok ... full disclosure, I am still terrible about doing my chores around the house. When company is coming, or my wife is coming home from a long trip I can find the drive and the energy to get the work done, but day to day stuff is not my strong suit. When I was a kid though I never minded helping clean other places, whether it was doing stuff at school or at a friend's house.

I feel like we see the same thing when it comes to church work. People will drive hundreds of miles to do a mission trip but will not want to help people in their own backyards. Every year Park UMC struggles to get their members to work at their booth at the Crow Wing County Fair. Every year Hamline UMC struggles to get member to work at the MN State Fair. However without really trying my wife and have managed to find 20+ youth from Light of the Lakes and Grace, two smaller churches who are willing to go to the Cities to help out.

I guess it makes sense ... no one likes to do the work they HAVE to do ... we like the freedom to choose what we do, even it is the same kind of work we resist doing. I suppose this is why the maverick heros are so popular. Maybe this is why so many people struggle with faith. One of the key steps in the 12 step program is accepting a higher power. An implication to that can mean accepting that there are things we have to do because of that higher power. A relationship with God seems to imply things we have to do. What we really need to do is find a relationship filled with things we want to do. We need to remind people that a relationship with God is not about subservance but joyful service. Now if only I could think joyful about the dishes at home with my name on them or the jungle ... I mean lawn that surrounds my house.