What was a fun part of a movie, where Nicholas Cage crashes the President’s birthday party, actually happens.
There has been much talk these days about the the financial meltdown and the coming end of the world, which is, of course, signaled by the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012. It has spawned cataclysmic movies, adding visualizations to the frenzy and for some (though it is hard to believe) probably a measure of fear. Now I enjoy a good end of the world movie, probably for the special effects and I am not beyond imagining that at some point circumstances could culminate to unravel our culture, infrastructure and a good point of our society. Heck, if Yellowstone blew it could very well send us into a volcanic winter that would devastate North America and probably have dire effects for the rest of the globe. The possibility of that happening isn’t at issue, the problem that I have is when people tell us when that is going to happen.
But further discussion on that is for another blog entry another day. I wanted to comment or share the perspective from a 7 year old. My son, Joel, is a pretty smart kiddo and a broad thinker. This morning he told me that “some people probably think the world is going to end in 2012.” He went on to say that “its not going to end then.” When I asked him why he was sure about that, he told me that 2012 couldn’t be the end of the world because Mor Furniture For Less (a local furniture store that advertises on TV) says in their commercials that people don’t have to make payments until 2014.
I smiled and thought, the world can’t end in 2012 because Mor is going to want their money for the furniture purchased today. So, I just wanted to encourage all you who might be fearing 2012…According to my 7 year old, there is nothing to fear.
Over the last little bit of time, I have been in somewhat of a funk. I really couldn’t have told you where all of it was coming from, nor do I think I know that now. But I have gained some perspective tonight that encouraged and refreshed me. See, I am employed by a church. I am a minister on staff whose role is to help stimulate community and help the church in thinking about itself in relation to the world around it. For those of you who know me personally, you might think…what a great job for Kelley; I have thought similarly. Yet over the course of the last 6 months or so, I have slowly declined into the “funk” of which I spoke.
I see some of the source of my funk…though I am employed by a church, there is much about “church” that I don’t like. As a Christian minister, one would think that I would be gung-ho about the organization or institution that we call Church. But in reality, I see a lot of self preservation at the heart of the institution, which we call “mission.” This has always been a struggle for me. I will not go into the specifics of that frustration, nor do I claim to be a purist in my own religion and faith. But while church has occupied a special place in history and in my life, it is very much a love-hate relationship at times.
Now I am sure that I am not alone in this sentiment, in fact I know of many pastors, ministers etc., who share my frustration or at least something similar. So this is no epiphany. But tonight, I attended an “emergent cohort” meeting. I belong to this gathering of people who meet monthly to discuss faith, questions and a book we have been reading on that topic. Previously, I have been quite regular in this group but in the last 5-6 months I have only attended once because of scheduling conflicts. I often think, I will pull back from this group…it is an expenditure of my time that I can’t afford in all that I have to do. When I do attend, I always come away encouraged because there are people there who are struggling and wrestling with similar issues about this institution we term Church…and the faith that is supposed to undergird it.
Previous to this evenings gathering, I was feeling quite “crispy” regarding my association with “church.” I felt trapped and having no place to go. Yet I realized that many feel the same struggle as they attempt to follow their heart and their faith in an era of massive cultural shift. I found as I spoke with friends and peers that I was not alone. And then it I saw it…I am not comfortable in Church because Church has a lot of disjunctions that exist…similar to any ideological group today. I had lost sight of the forest because of the trees that are a part of my daily view. But in reality , I would be in a far worse state, if I didn’t have serious frustrations with church, if I weren’t aware that there is much change that communities of faith need to navigate in order to remain vibrant, authentic expressions of faith in the real world in which we all tread each day. Needs and frustrations point to elements of value in which we can invest. It is easy to forget that truth and to become mired in all of the “stuff”, forgetting the forest toward which we travel…because we have become tangled in the trees where we are.
Lord help us see and love the forest and the trees.
I just read an article on the web about a father in Michigan, who, after finding out that his son had had sexual contact with a three year old, came home with a gun, ordered his son to strip, walked him out into a vacant lot and shot him to death despite his son’s and wife’s pleas to not pull the trigger. As a father, I am trying to understand what might motivate such violence, but I cannot imagine taking my son’s life for any reason.
I am truly stunned by what I just read. It sickens me. I am looking at the picture of my son, realizing that he could and may well choose to do some things that are repulsive to me and, even, to society. But, no matter what those things are, I cannot imagine that I would do anything but fight for my son’s life. I cannot imagine choosing, as judge and jury, to end it. Amidst cries for mercy from your child and your spouse, how do you still pull the trigger?
I pray that God, our Father, might have mercy on this man’s soul. I say that because I can’t imagine that anyone else could. I sure can’t.