Friday, June 18, 2010

Uncaging a Lion

Jesus is described as the Lion of Judah. He appears in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia as the lion Aslan. Something about this image resonates with us. It’s an image of a God that is big, powerful and in command.

But, in the words of Shane Hipps, we have to be careful because a “lion does not make a good house cat.” A lion can’t be domesticated. A lion in a cage is somehow diminished irreparably. A lion needs wide open spaces. Churches, though, often try hard to cage their Lion.

Why do churches try to put this Lion in a cage?

Sometimes we do it because we’re afraid that something will hurt The Lion. I think The Lion can protect itself. This Lion doesn’t need us to defend it.

Sometimes we do it because we try to control The Lion. But a caged lion can cause a lot of damage.

Sometimes we do it because we are afraid of The Lion. We believe we need to be protected from The Lion. Even though we are in awe of The Lion; the very thing that brings on awe also makes us fear The Lion.

C.S. Lewis had one of the characters in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe say this when asked if that Lion (Aslan) was safe. “Of course he’s not safe.”

I wonder what our life in community (read: Church) would be like if we uncaged The Lion?

~ Godspeed

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Great Question

Speaking at an Annual Conference in the Mid-West, one United Methodist Bishop asked this question: “What are the fundamental activities that are so critical to your congregation's mission that failure to perform them in an exemplary way results in congregational deterioration and decline?"

I think that’s a great question. Lately I’ve been asking myself whether churches try to do too much. And in trying to do so much, we do most of it in a mediocre way. The question I’ve been asking is “What should churches stop doing?” I think its the same question asked in a different way.

Someone once said that “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Stands to reason that in order to keep the main thing the main thing – you better know what the main thing is!

Spend some time thinking about what activities are “mission critical:” – certainly in your home and in your life. But more particularly for this conversation – for the church.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Top 10 Things You Never Want to Hear Your Pastor Say

Sunday night at the Refinery, we shared the “Top 10 Things You Never Want to Hear Your Pastor Say.” Without further ado …

10. Today we’re going to mix it up a little … for communion, we’re having Mentos and Diet Coke! (everybody be careful!)

9. I’m kind of surprised that I am even here this evening … I have the WORST hangover. (those trustees really know how to throw a party.)

8. You’re mom died? Oh, that’s too bad. My niece’s parrot died a few week’s ago – and I’m still pretty broken up about it.

7. I want to share a few vacation pictures with you … I was hesitant about the Tuesday shots, since it was “Speedo Day” on the beach, but I decided to go ahead and ‘share it like it is!’

6. I know that Paul “just says NO” in the NT, but after serious theological reflection, I think its time for all the men in the congregation to be re-circumcised as a sign of the new covenant.

5. We’re out of communion bread, but we did find this cheesy bread back there in the youth room. (when did they have pizza night … Wednesday, right?)

4. I really want you to get this point I am making, so here is a clip from ‘The Exorcist.’

3. I’ve been thinking the Mormons might have it right … so next week, we’ll begin sign-ups to schedule interviews to find my second wife!

2. I had an exciting sermon prepared for today, but I think I am just going to get started here and see where the Spirit leads us, I mean, who doesn’t have plenty of time for the Spirit?

And the number 1 thing you never want to hear your pastor say is …

1. I’ve been assessing your situation and … you really might be going to hell.