From Verge Network
From Verge Network
I was reading today and it reminded me of the following…
The gentleman came up to me as I sat at the “table” at the craft fair, copies of our “Music Association” calendar in front of me. We sell them there as a fundraiser to try to support music in the schools…in whatever way we can. We made small talk. He found out I was a pastor who was also the “Music Coach” at the high school, working with the kids once a week and helping move them towards performance dates.
At that point, the conversation turned. The gentlemen made very clear that he wasn’t allowed to go into the (Alaskan) public school in his hometown because they “hated Jesus” and wouldn’t let him talk about Jesus there. He said, “If you even mention the name ‘Jesus’ you’ll be run out of the school. It’s a sad state our country is in that you don’t even have the right to mention Jesus.”
I told him that I had not had any problems with the schools in our community. But I admitted that I wasn’t in them, primarily, to talk about Jesus. I was in them because I wanted to support my kids and other kids and because I have a love for all kinds of music and want to encourage music any way that I can.
He was surprised — honestly surprised — that I didn’t have an issue with the school system or didn’t feel pressure from principals, that I didn’t feel stifled, that I didn’t feel my “religious liberty” was being infringed upon.
And I don’t.
Because, while I’m a Bible-believing, Christian, I’m not there to talk about Jesus. I’m not using music or support of my kids as some underhanded way to sneak the Gospel into kid’s lives. It’s not a “bait and switch.” I honestly want to encourage music and encourage the kids in their endeavors. I honestly want to see them excel — in school and in life. I honestly want to be there with them as they work on musical numbers.
Now, I don’t minimize my faith as I do so. I’m not “less Christian” when I’m in the school than when I’m not. And, I would argue, my love and support of the kids (and my love and support of music) springs from my understanding of grace and creation and what I think God has called me to do and be. The high school kids all know I’m a pastor, even if I don’t start us off with a prayer and force them to sing “Jesus songs.” They know I love Jesus and I believe they know I love them.
But I don’t need to talk about Jesus to show it.
And, in fact, sometimes not talking about Jesus is the best way to show what Jesus is like.
Some of us Christians and some of our churches need to be reminded about this.
Children know how to worship. That’s why Jesus says we must become like children to receive the kingdom of God (Mark 10:15). They live in a world of wonder and delight in God’s beauty that we lose when we acquire the curse of shameful self-preoccupation represented in the story of Adam and Eve’s loss of innocence. We can only regain our innocence when we accept the unconditional grace God offers through Jesus Christ and renounce every attempt to justify ourselves before God through our pious performances. When we stop performing for a God we think is scowling at the universe, then we can discover the warm gaze of the One who delights in our delight. It’s only within the perfect safety of God’s loving gaze that we can delight in God authentically and become conduits of the love that is poured into us.
I love cooking with crockpots. I love being able to get everything together in the morning, throw it in the crockpot, and let it cook all day. Then you get to come home after a long day and be greeted by the aroma of whatever it is you’ve been cooking–chicken, a pot-roast, soup…whatever.
Sometimes, however, I don’t get everything put together. Sometimes I have my inspiration for dinner a little later in the day. I know you can cook on “high” rather than “low.” But it still can take 5 hours or so. Sometimes that’s just too long. And I hate that…especially when I have a vision for what I want to see happen.
There’s a reason another name for a crockpot is a “slow cooker.”
Such it is with ministry as well. I know things take a while. But sometimes I just want it all to move faster than it does. There are many posts on this site about how slow discipleship and “missional church” is.
Here’s one more… all because I found this from “Pastor Steph” who takes this crockpot image and runs with it:
No matter how often I choose the microwave out of convenience, I am certain that the food tastes better when cooked in the oven, stove top and for MAXIMUM flavor – cooked for hours in a slow-cooking crock pot.
The longer and slower the food cooks, the better is seems to taste!
The more time you take to sit and eat the food, the more enjoyable the experience.
The same is true for Missional Community….
After years of leading these families, I have learned this truth:
Missional Communities are crock pots – not microwaves.
They take time to become what God intends for them to be.
It takes time to discern exactly how to live out your mission on a regular basis.
Thanks “Pastor Steph.”
“Preaching is proclamation, God’s word revealed in Jesus, but only when it gets embedded in conversation, in a listening ear and responding tongue, does it become gospel.” — Eugene Peterson
I love hanging out with the thought of Missio Alliance. This From Karina Kreminski and Missio Alliance
Disembodied vs. Embodied
Christian spirituality can sometimes reflect the excarnation that sits in our culture. Charles Taylor used this term in A Secular Age to describe what happens when we conceptualize and abstract our lives. What ends up happening is that concepts and thoughts become more important that bodily engagement with those thoughts.
I see this often when people lament that the discipleship is lukewarm in their church. What is the usual solution offered? More teaching, more study and more information. We instinctively think that correct doctrine will transform us automatically. Our spirituality has become an abstraction rather than grounded in embodied practice.