Happy New Year.

Monday, January 01, 2007

My husband and I are not big resolution types, but here's one that we have lying around on hand for just such an occasion.

From this year forward, we strive to be unremarkable, ordinary, unworthy, unobserved Christians. No more fronting Jesus Rock Bands for hundreds of screaming fans. No more speaking at retreats. No more breezy PR newsletters to financial supporters full of carefully chosen (and excluded) details about the remarkable results of our Life In Ministry.

(What would those newsletters have looked like if we'd been honest? In a nutshell: "We aren't getting full paychecks, and couldn't live on them if we were. My wife is having panic attacks, and our leaders could care less as long as I'm still productive in my church work. Speaking of those leaders, I am being manipulated and lied to by men that I thought were my friends and role models. Our church just committed to a building that is going to cost it its financial security and become an idol to be worshipped and sacrificed to. That same hipster church makes most of its members feel unhip and unwanted. Many of the mature members are leaving, leaving mostly spiritual babies behind. We're finding it difficult to do our jobs-- draw people into a church-- that grosses us out. We're standing up for what we believe is balance and truth, and we know it's going to risk our career in ministry-- and also our future, because now I'm having my own anxiety attacks that dwarf my wife's by comparison, my blood pressure is through the roof, and my health is shot to hell." Hooboy, would those have been interesting reading.)

Back to that resolution. We want to learn contentment-- no, joy-- in living out the gospel daily without a Master Plan of Spectacular Results-- or a spiritual heirarchy above us doling out approval or disapproval based on our usefulness to its own Master Plan. We will be love, salt, light to the "least of these" even (and especially) if it will not advance our own causes, popularity, power, or sense of piety.

...From Jim Palmer. I haven't read his book, but I'll likely check it out after seeing this:
“God has been trying to free me from the burden of doing something spectacular for him. It has a way of distracting you from the opportunities to be salt and light where you are…I’m starting to recognize that I am immersed in a sea of hurting people every day. If I simply pay attention and follow the promptings of the Spirit in all these little ways, my life is ‘ministry.’” What is at the bottom of our need to do some “great” thing for God? Why do we tend to discount or not value how God works through us along the everyday paths of life?

Hoorah for the everyday dirt paths. No more spiritual tollways for us-- the price is just too high.

3 comments:

Holli Says:

3:01 PM

Kim,
We couldn't be in agreement with you more!
Here's to a very ordinary and human year!
Cheers!
Matt & Hol

Faith Says:

9:09 PM

Hurray for modest resolutions! I love that quote, Kim. I have been thinking about it; I feel like I also have been learning that process of being freed from the burden to do something spectacular - or be part of something spectacular.

We miss you guys a lot. Also, I have been obsessively looking at ivy-draped rentals in Columbus, possessed of hardwood floors, crown moldings and tree-lined views in walking distance of organic co-ops and coffee shops. And they are like $500! The Craigslist stalking just puts me in mind of you, my friend...

Susie Says:

8:02 AM

Hi, Kim. Just visiting here. I read this when you first wrote it, and I guess it struck me so much that I couldn't comment. I still don't have quite the right words. But I've seen it a lot, and I've experienced it a bit myself -- there's something wrong with a flavor of Christianity that constrains its followers to be less than honest about how things -- the church, their own lives, health, hearts -- really are. That's not very eloquent, and there's a lot more behind it. Oh, wow, I'm just realizing where this is coming from, and I can't post about it on my sight, because too many people from my church read it. Or maybe I will. No, probably not. Heee, Susie's therapy time at Kim's. You can send me a bill ;)

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