I am an exhausted Evangelical, but I am hopeful that God will use this particularly bumpy cultural moment to rouse a sleepy church from its prolonged nap of cultural Christianity, and that what might emerge from this all would be a vibrant Kingdom community of faith prepared to live as sojourners and exiles until we arrive on the shores of the land that we are actually all longing for.
It explained why I would come home after multiple church services on a Sunday with a level of exhaustion that I couldn’t even begin to describe. Not just tired, soul level exhausted. It explained why my true friendships were few in numbers and were all with people I had known for decades. I have always been a guy with hundreds of genuinely fond acquaintance relationships and very few friendships. It explained my anxiety around situations and scenarios with lots of strangers where I had to mingle and not where I got to have the relative position of safety of being the pastor guy on stage. It explained a lot of my self-loathing that I put myself through because I wasn’t more fun as a hang, or why I couldn’t be more winsome and charming in conversation. It explained … my life.
Maybe Halloween gives us a true a glimpse of the spiritual death that lingers behind immaculate lawns and electric door min-vans? It isn’t just in October that my neighborhood is filled with skeletons. It’s year round. Oh God, please breathe. What I need, and what my neighbors need is the breath of the Spirit.
What a wonderfully confounding thing it is to be a person. We are all a complex mix of image-bearing potential for good and serpent-believing potential for wickedness, and our recognition of this tension ought to make us the most humble and yet most hopeful of all creatures.
An assortment of links gathered from the far reaches of the internet for your clicking pleasure over the weekend. This week includes preacher's wives, a very loud world, virtue through dissociation, getting goodness done, and the rise of the nones or just the end of the pretense of a Christian nation.
It is ridiculous when you see it so starkly portrayed. Imagine if Paul had let his confidence in who he was in Christ wax and wane with the public opinion about him? And yet, that is exactly what I am tempted to do, and what many of us struggle with as well. In our hyperconnected but very casually related world of relationships, many of us give permission to people who don’t know us well, don’t love us well, and don’t have insight into who we really are, determine so much of how we feel about ourselves. It is insane.
A few links for you this weekend from the far reaches of the interwebs. This week's collection includes ponderings on our crazy schedules and their social consequences, an easy parenting shift to get deliberate time with your kids, the true diversity and humanity of the American voter, what it looks like to live with a moral bucket list, and the phenomenon of pastoral loneliness.
I have found it true, in my thirty years of walking with Jesus, that God and I have a different sense of time and urgency. When I want something to move quickly and with urgency, then that seems to be the exact season that God seems to slow things down and make me wait. When I want things to go slow, then that is when everything seems to come at me all once. The fact that God and I don’t have the same sense of time and urgency shouldn’t be surprising as God and I have very different perspectives and very different priorities.