beautifully unaware

I’m editing my new upcoming book on Vision. It will include cartoons. I’m quite excited about it.

I went back through my blog gleaning all relevant posts. So last night I took a sort of fly-over of the whole history of my blog. I made an interesting discovery from my years of pastoring my last church:

We were at our best when we were at our worst.

In other words, when we were struggling with something: cancer, accident, the death of a loved one through cancer, suicide or heart attack or something else, financial disaster, personal bankruptcy, ridicule from other churches, gay rights and full inclusion, pregnancy before marriage, miscarriages, etc., etc., etc… that’s when we shone.

I read the notes I’ve kept from people during these times expressing how grateful they were for the church in all its simplicity and weakness, authenticity and genuineness, its raw and unpretentious nature that allowed them to be themselves, to find healing, and to be restored to contributing compassionate citizens of this world.

Adversely, it was when everything was going smoothly that trouble started stirring. It was during the doldrums when people got restless, impatient, ambitious and, for lack of a better word, bitchy.

When our focus changed from compassionately caring for someone in our midst in deep anguish, pain and sorrow to wanting to become something… that was when we got ugly. In my opinion.

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14 Replies to “beautifully unaware”

  1. Best wishes on the book. You’ve got a lot of important things to say.
    I wonder if the same pattern holds true for money? When a congregation has the least, it does the best?

  2. That is so very profound. And many never even get that. I think that not recognizing those in our midst who are dying inside and nobody even notices is something to truly be ashamed of. I’ve been on both sides of that coin.

  3. Sorry, David, I was reading “financial disaster” as on the part of individuals, not on the part of the congregation as a whole.
    I should have realized you don’t separate things out that way.

  4. can’t wait to see the book.

    Agree with premise – the one time I truly saw the church functioning as unified body was right after 9/11 – never before have I seen people of faith come together like this to do whatever was needed to help a city recover. It only lasted a few weeks before power plays, ego, racism, etc. took over. It’s those glimpses that give me hope. But I wonder why it takes a disaster for us to come alive like this?

  5. We are cavemen at heart. When the things we love are threatened, we fight to protect them. No threat, no fight. The majority of people in the developed world don’t have a day-to-day battle on their hands to survive but the instinct never goes away and it’s in proportion with the situation; self, family, friends, community, country and the level of threat. It’s self-preservation and generally pretty selfish in the sense that we fight the hardest for the things closest to our hearts.
    I think the dreaded ‘vision’ in some church communities tries to address this, but too often, unfortunately, with the goal of swelling the community with the grateful rescued.
    Did Christ heal people with sole intention of getting them into the flock or because, even though they were strangers, he loved them as much as his blood relatives, best friends and himself and his instinct was to end their suffering?
    Vision starts and ends with self

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