I haven’t had much time to ramble lately, since the baby was born. I feel like the only blog posts I’ve made have been book reviews, so I had a second and thought I would actually post some of my own thoughts for a change. The blog is definitely due for a face lift and overall updating, but I suppose I’ll get to that soon enough. Anyway, here’s some of the things that have been oozing through my mind:
Ten Year Class Reunion
My ten-year-class reunion was last Saturday night. There were about 25% of our graduating class there. I basically have kept up with my two best friends from high school and recently ran into another. I talked with one of them who was going to be there – Marc, and he said we should take the money instead and just go out for dinner together. He was probably right. Ten years later, everyone pretty much stays within their own cliques and politely says hello. Granted, it was great to see a few folks whom I wouldn’t have otherwise, but I probably won’t keep up with any of them – I guess we should have just gone out to dinner.
My understanding of church continues to grow and change – almost daily. I am in the midst of An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, and there have been some awesomely challenging and delightfully refreshing articles there that have continued to spark my thinking and prompt me onward. The more I consider the state of things, the more I feel that we’ve really messed this thing up. I am working toward becoming more proactive in my critique and instead of always assessing the many errors of our ways, begin promoting a direction forward. I recently met with an emergent minister who encouraged me on in that vein. It’s when you know where you are to go, when you really take the leap forward. I’m still working on what’s wrong before I leap forward, but I feel an insane prompting unlike I’ve ever felt before. Lee Camp’s book that I commented on below has also convicted me to move forward in this area and lead others as well. Humility is the key as I move onward. That is lacking in much of the conversation and dialog I hear and read. I hope to move beyond that.
I put this in here because of a remark made by one of our elders to me today. He works with retirement accounts for a living and I have been thinking alot about retirement lately. I put my jabs in to him (and I know he’ll probably read this . . . ha ha) but he knows I am just searching over this one. My whole theology of money has evolved over the past few years to a place that has left me really challenged and confused. It has led me to where I really question the biblical basis for “retirement.” The whole American system of retirement seems a whole lot like “tear the barns down and build bigger ones.” That, in a nutshell, sounds to me exactly like a 401k. Yes, I have a retirement account. Yes there is a whopping $3,000 in it. Yes, I have serious questions about whether or not this is the right use of this money. On one hand I want my family to be taken care of, my kids to have college savings accounts, my wife and I to have a comfortable “nest egg” . . . but wait a minute . . . that sounds way more like American culture than ANYTHING in the Bible. I’m really struggling with this one . . .
My whole concept of ministry has been blown up since I first began here at Alum Creek. I am finding it more and more difficult to explain to someone (especially a non-Christian) “what I do for a living” and yet at the same time, I seem to have a clearer and clearer picture of what I am to be about! Is there any sense to that? I love my youth ministry. I love teenagers! I could do this job forever. There is nothing more rewarding than working with kids – of that I am convinced. However, I am far from a “traditional youth minister.” The church that I work with has allowed me the freedom (intentionally or not, I’m not really sure) to create my own position. There is a huge risk/reward potential here (like I could waste five years going down the wrong path) but God has been faithful throughout and continues to blow doors open before me humbling me to stay out of his way and simply do my best to exemplify the love of Christ wherever I go.
We took the teens to see Evan Almighty this morning. A few things have caught my eye about this movie – it’s the most expensive comedy ever made. Steve Carrell is hilarious – I mean, if you don’t love The Office, I’m not sure we can be friends. And the promotion has been overtly Christian. It was a very interesting experience. I’ve already written plenty, so I don’t want to go on and on, but a few comments. I had a really strange feeling after watching it. It was apparent the Christian community was the intended audience (from the Veggie Tales preview to the constant unspoken biblical imagery throughout that non-Christians would fail to recognize). I felt like I had to like the film, as a Christian (and it was pretty good, but not close to great – it was OK). I think what bothered me most about it was that it was so trite throughout. The biblical parallels were blatant – rah rah for the Christian right, but it seems to me it lacked some authenticity – if that’s the right word. Instead, I have been more impressed with the theological overtones not quite as blatant in movies such as The Green Mile (I think this was the first “secular” movie I ever noticed this kind of thing), Superman, and Lord of the Rings. For some reason, it’s easier for me to appreciate it in those situations. I don’t know if I’m on my own here or not. There is something “cool” about seeing biblical images portrayed straightforward (and rarely if ever did I feel anything in the movie was sacrilegious) . . . but that’s what made me wonder about the whole thing. When the Gospel is “cool” . . . hmm . . . that just seems to dull it a little. Thoughts?
So . . . there’s what’s been going on in my mind