Friday, September 18, 2009

~ go your own way ~

I read a post at yesterday, on the frantic pace at which our families move. Naturally, I carried what was being said into another significant relational body that seems to occupy so much of my thoughts: the Church.

One thing really stood out to me in the discussion of Ann Kroeker’s Not So Fast: Slow Down Solutions for Frenzied Families:

Even within the Christian subculture, families are zooming, accelerating to stay neck and neck with their neighbors without much thought as to how the pace is affecting their souls.

And with this thesis, Ann examines what life can look like when the Joneses are allowed to go their own way, and we are allowed to go ours.
About a year and a half ago, the Spirit was actively speaking to my soul on two themes: quietness and fruitfulness.

Two books by Margaret Feinberg, The Sacred Echo and God Whispers, really helped me to recognize this theme pattern in my prayers, in my reading of scripture, in my writing, in what others were speaking to me, and even in opposition I was experiencing.

I was struck by the opposing effects of an abiding life (one that rests, trusts, dwells in Christ and bears the fruit of that relationship) and an anxious life (one that seeks to control, manipulate, and exhaust relationships and circumstances).
As I saw the anxiousness playing out in my congregational life, I began to recognize it all the more in my own life - and to seek to learn how to practice abiding, instead.

I wonder if perhaps 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 is speaking to the Church as a whole:

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
I think we as the Church can get so caught up in movements, in growth, in the next great model or the newest cool idea that we run ourselves ragged just trying to keep up with the Joneses.

What would life look like if the Joneses were allowed to go their own way, and we were allowed to go ours?
I would love to see every congregation celebrate the permission to stop and breathe.

To commune.

To dwell.

To move as the Spirit speaks to them.

To move at a pace that enriches the soul, that trusts that as we move in obedience (not in frenzy) that the Lord will move in His way and in His time.

To build relationships, to disciple, to care for one another, to listen and observe and recognize the lives that are around us that we can speak into, to send disciples out to other locations and support them as they seek to be fully present there.

To love one another.

To adjust the pace of our personal lives so that we are better able to participate in the corporate life of the Church.

Not in programs.

In relationships.

The Church may meet in different locations, use different methods to teach and to serve and to spread the message and to disciple believers, may have different priorities.

That’s ok.

We can learn from one another, but we don’t have to rush to imitate (or surpass) one another.

May we rest in the presence of the Lord, listen to how he is speaking among our local body, and respond without anxiousness and in full assurance that the One whose kingdom we seek is glorified as we practice his love among each other.


Greg said...

I've been walking in some anxiety lately. I want to get back to the abiding. Thanks for the reminder.

Morgon77 said...

when the common theme is "doing as much as you can before the rapture", it builds rushing into the culture.