Tag Archives: #contentment

To Pilgrim in 2018

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Our world screams hyper-activity, uber-productivity, high energy, stress induced anxiety necessitating record breaking amounts of mood altering meds and magic pills.  This world screams the values of wealth, comfort, convenience and excess as the recipe for happiness and fulfillment.  The consumer-slavery model convinces you to create bills and debts to things you don’t need (but feel entitled to) so that every waking minute and second of your days exists to push coins in the direction of your creditors in the pursuit of this American Dream.

Here’s my problem with the American Dream:  it’s not old enough.  It might be the historian or the theologian in me, but I marvel at the primal connections of our forefathers/mothers who lived lives of deep community, deep meaning and deep mystery of old.  I’m not interested in a life w/out air-conditioning, a cold space to keep my meat and proteins so they don’t spoil or without my Jeep but there are some simplicities I am interested in that I can learn from the past.  Mostly that my life is not defined on things I produce which in turn give me value, but my life has value because of who I am and who I belong to.  Primal community, I am who I belong to.  I have value because the One who made me bestowed upon me value as his son before I ever ‘did’ anything in this world.  I have value not by what I add to my community, but because of their deep love and affection for me.

I  have a conversational relationship with the One I call ‘God’.  I perceive him to be the God of the Ancient Scriptures, I access him through a divine connection with Jesus the Christ and his Spirit, I experience him to be the very Son of God having resurrected from the dead.  By definition that puts his words and prompts in another category.   I’ve been asking for a ‘word’ for 2018 and the one I hear back in my spirit is ‘Pilgrim’.  I think the Spirit wants to lead me on a pilgrimage and wants me to perceive my circumstances as a pilgrim.  This life, this world, is something I am just passing through.  It doesn’t define me.  If I don’t ‘crush it’ in 2018, it doesn’t take away from my primal identity and connection as a Pilgrim passing through.  I am defined by who I belong to and what He is teaching me, not by anything that I am accomplishing.

Takes the pressure off and turns the joy up.  Cheers to your Pilgrimage!

“But your loss brought you here to walk under one name and one name only, and to find the guise under which all loss can live; remember, you were given that name every day along the way, remember, you were greeted as such, and treated as such and you needed no other name, other people seemed to know you even before you gave up being a shadow on the road and came into the light, even before you sat down, broke bread and drank wine, wiped the wind-tears from your eyes; pilgrim they called you, pilgrim they called you again and again.  Pilgrim.”  – ‘Camino’, poem by David Whyte

 

On Vocation and Contentment

This is something I wrote/blogged on July 1, 2003.  Just came upon it and realized I still wrestle with all the same issues as do many of the leaders around me in my networks.  I’m trying to learn a lesson apparently I haven’t learned over the past 10 years.  But I’m listening . . . I guess to myself.

“Had lunch today with another missional community leader, Dave and we talked together of our frustration with having seminary degrees that don’t help us get jobs in the real world and in being mediators between the emerging church expression and the one we were trained in, get finances from and have some accountability towards. We wondered out loud about the politics of it all, personal compromises and the desperate need to be the pastors we long to be but also provide for our families, cuz no one else will. Through all of that we came to a different conclusion than the one we were planning on. It is simply, “quit whining!” The Kingdom is now. Yes, we don’t know our future completely and we don’t know what tommorrow will be, but in the now the Kingdom is happening and we are missing it. We are at times despairing, wrapped in fear, lost in the transition and all during that, God is providing for all our needs. And we complain cuz we want security.

It struck us that Jesus maintained his joy because he lived in the “now”. As we strategize after goals and expectations that will never be met, the Kingdom goes unnoticed around us. Each opportunity to connect with my wife, each opportunity to enjoy my kids, each opportunity to dwell richly in my community of friends gets sucked dry cuz I’m worried about tommorrow. The Kingdom is here and we are still looking for the consumation of all things. We rob ourselves of joy, peace and contentment cuz we are focused on the future and God is now!

Oh, that I would stop my striving and running and achieving and building and rescuing the urgent. That I would learn to have joy on the ride. Love the ride. Live for the ride. Some ride the ups and downs of the roller coaster (life) only being in fear of the next turn, or wondering when it will end, or hanging on for dear life with their eyes closed. I need to learn how to enjoy the thrill of right now! Lick it up, dwell richly in now.

I have a book on my desk that I’ve only skimmed written by a Budhist called “The Power of Now”. Why are the Budhists kicking our arses in this area of peace, joy and contentment? We evangelicals run the machine known as church. A ferocious appetite for more consumer goods. When leaders burn out, replace them. But keep striving, keep turning the crank, keep doing the same inhuman activity over and over again and believing that this time its really different, this time we will find the magic pill that solves all our problems.

The Kingdom is now, don’t miss it. Its the secret to joy, peace and contentment. I’m leaving now, to go sit and be with my wife, right now. Thank you Abba for the joy of now. “

Finding this today, I am quite literally preaching to myself . . . again.