Posts Tagged ‘Sacrifice’

Beyond

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

There is nothing easy per se about the challenges to live meaningful lives.  We live in a time when the conversation around spirit is largely muted.

A recent NCAA football playoff trailer featured language of the spirit but in an entirely misappropriated way, stating for example “faith is trust in things unseen”, and “the fierce urgency of now” without I believe knowing or at least referencing that these quotes grew from the Bible in the case of former and Rev. Martin Luther King in the case of latter.  Our spiritual language … reserved to describe the game between Alabama and Ohio State.  A game serving as a paltry substitute for the deeper meanings of human existence. And I want to add … it was a really good game!  It just was not spiritual.  Just … a … game.

Brings up the question … how dead are we?  Can we choose life, a life beyond the reductionist dead end of self-referencing emotion? Can we choose life now even though “now” costs?

“You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid…. You refuse to do it because you want to live longer…. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand. Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.” (Rev. Martin Luther King)

Imagine 2015 as a year of thinking “beyond”  - beyond emotions to principles.  Beyond physical comforts to spiritual nourishment.  Beyond attainment to sacrifice.

 

Walking Up to The Edge of Our Life’s Purpose

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

How do we walk up to the edge of our life’s purpose?

A challenging question.

It means danger … leaving the center to find the Center.

And to take that walk?  It means sacrifice.

“When sacrifice is removed from the equation, an unpromising future of sterile self regard is what remains.” (Elizabeth Scalia)

Sacrifice opens us up to what is difficult.  It opens us to what matters.  It opens us to what is Us.  It pulls us to the edge. Well beyond the “sterile self regard” we trap ourselves in.

Sacrifice in the end, beyond the mistaken gray “bread and water” connotations of confinement, says maybe one thing very loud … WELCOME.

Reminding Ourselves a Million Times – It is NOT about us

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Just finished, “Who Stole My Church?” An autobiographic account written by Gordon MacDonald, it traces his congregation’s journey through change. The core change, as is true for churches (and lives) is the flip from it being about “us” to being about “them.”

A blessing of starting a new church, i.e. NewChurch LIVE, is that we never had a multi-generational culture to work through.  Our efforts – creating from the bottom up.   Simply put, no one within NCL thankfully ever said, “But that is not the way we did it.”  However that does not mean that we won’t face those issues in the future.  Someone will eventually say those very words!  (and it may be me in which case re-send me this blog:))

We received this email yesterday from New Mexico.   It reads ….

First, we would like to thank you for making your services available to us online.  They have led to much understanding and growth for us personally and inspired us to want to share the same type of services with our community.

We are trying to grow our shrinking New Church Circle in Albuquerque, NM.  We are in need of materials.  Our current plan for 2012-2013 is to project New Church Live Services and the wonderful music of your band to see if we can get more people involved.

The email on went to outline the ways in which they hope to leverage our services online.  See right there folks is a need.  It is a need beyond “us.”  It is about “them.”   It is about sharing a language as we seek to find ways to humbly take part in a reinvention of “church” for a new generation.   A wonderful world of promise!  And here is the caution, as Emanuel Swedenborg phrased it, about what creates detours on that journey.

“When we adopt our own welfare as the goal, God cannot be present.  Our self-absorbtion pushes Him away [as] we deflect and divert to ourselves the common good of society, the common good of the church, and even the Lord’s kingdom, treating them as if they exist for our own sake.”  (Heavenly Secrets 1316) 

That journey to the common good then takes patience and self-sacrifice.  We need to be willing to give to it – our time, talent, and treasure.  But don’t question the need.  At the Ronald McDonald House two nights ago I met a volunteer named Jeff, a man who lost a daughter to cancer at age 6.  He leaned across the counter with an unsettling certaintude, looked me in the eye, and said, ” We need more churches like NewChurch LIVE.”  If we can keep from letting that turn us back into a concern just about us, we will really be able to serve the world.  The tide has not come in yet.  But keep focused and keep clear about that this is all about.  Keep pointed to the “other.”