Trust In the Slow Work

I have a list somewhere of posts waiting to be written, but my list has been sorely neglected in recent times.

In part, this is due to the glorious fact that life is very full right now.
Not overly busy or hectic, but full.

My productivity in the everyday world of work and family has left little margin for musings in the digital realm.

The other part of this writer’s block, though, is due to grief.
There’s been some stuff to grieve on our end.
Personal stuff like grandpa and transitions and the hard work of letting go.

But there’s also been a lot to grieve on a larger scale as well.
Shootings and division in the church (globally) and all sorts of variations of darkness.

I don’t often know how to respond to many of these things in my own daily life, let alone in this space.

So, I’ve sabbaticaled from blogging and really from engaging on-line in anything other than the Warriors and our family adventures. Like Job I felt the need to “proceed no further.”

Which has been quite refreshing actually.

I think the great, evil, seduction of the digital age, and of blogging in particular, is you craft something and you put it out there and there’s an implicit hope/desire/belief in an immediate response.

Whether examining my own life, and my own failings, or lamenting the unceasing darkness pervading our world, I am easily seduced by this immediacy. By action and results.

Things should change. Now!

The Jesuit philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said: “Above all, trust in the slow work of God.”

To do this, I think, means being connected
(not in the online sense, but in the everyday sense),
to actual work in the real world.

I feel the pressure and the pull, especially as a church leader, to do or say something incredible.

Chardin reminds me that incredible things happen when I eat dinner with my family.
And discipline my kids.
And read the Scriptures on a daily basis.
And listen to and pray with and for hurting people.
And slog through the difficult work of creating a different kind of community.

In the last week or two I’ve seen some pretty amazing glimpses of light,
cracking through these dark times,
and it’s those beautiful,
flickering beams of light that help me keep trusting in the slow work.

Jen Hatmaker on Transitions

“Leaving is hard, even when a great adventure awaits you.

We knew were leaving. To go where? We didn’t have the first inkling. That was somewhere out there, yet to be determined. What lay in front of us was the telling, the transition, leaving the platform. After seven years, there was no doubt: This would be tough.

I hardly know what to say except that this season was terribly hard. I wish I had some of those weeks back to rethink this conversation or better word that piece of correspondence. We navigated with pure intentions and a fierce desire to do this well.

But things like leaving, new ideas, and perception–further complicated by no details about where we were going–made for a difficult transition. No one wanted the particulars more than us, but part of our task was going without knowing. Those were hard, difficult days. Sometimes following God is the worst. I can say with some confidence: if you go wherever God says and when, expect to be misunderstood.

And go anyway.

-Jen Hatmaker Interrupted

Mark Sayers Being Awesome…

“The difficulty for those of us who are called into leadership in this era, in a society of the spectacle riddled with passive spectatorship and intermittent distraction, is made increasingly difficult.

“The society of the spectacle creates passivity among its citizens, a reluctance to initiate, to lead. Instead we are encouraged to view, to consume. We fear committing, worrying that by doing so we will reduce our freedom, cut ourselves off from the myriad of choices that constantly entice us.

“Reducing your options is particularly difficult for people raised in the society of the spectacle. By stepping into leadership, you refuse to stay within the narrow parameters of contemporary culture and you decide to accept the price of your decision: you choose only one option, and thus negate the seemingly endless possibilities culture appears to offer.

“Leaders…respond to God choosing them. Thus, the first responsive step of leadership is of utmost importance. It is an act of rebellion against the society of the spectacle–it is to relinquish a life of many options so that you can receive God’s one option.”

– Mark Sayers, Facing Leviathan

“Moments of greatness…

“Moments of greatness are far more appealing than a lifetime of faithfulness, but it is through a lifetime of faithfulness-a lifetime of integrity, in which we have chosen to be strong and courageous-that we will look back and realize that our lives have become masterpieces.”

-Erwin McManus [The Artisan Soul]

Simon Sinek on Work-Life Balance

“This is what work-life balance means. It has nothing to do with the hours we work or the stress we suffer. It has to do with where we feel safe. If we feel safe at home, but we don’t feel safe at work, then we will suffer what we perceive to be a work-life imbalance. If we have strong relationships at home and at work, if we feel like we belong, if we feel protected in both…we do things for each other, look out for each other and sacrifice for each other…we have a feeling of comfort and confidence at work that reduces the overall stress we feel because we do not feel our well-being is threatened.”

From Leaders Eat Last

I Would Be a College Pastor

From Dan Kimball’s facebook post this week:

“If I wasn’t in the lead role of the whole church, I would want to be the college pastor. So much happens in that time of life and questions and challenges and idealism and thinking. I am very thrilled to be speaking to our college ministry this evening. I would also volunteer in the youth ministry too if I wasn’t in the broader role I am currently. One day perhaps…. but thankful for all the youth and college ministry leaders in our churches across the world.” 

Catch-22

A friend in my community group let me read his favorite book, which happened to be Catch-22. Never read this in school for some reason, but it is fantastic…an absolute tearing apart of the absurdities of war, but also of bureaucratic life and America in general. My favorite quote:

“The chaplain had sinned, and it was good. Common sense told him that telling lies and defecting from duty were sins. On the other hand, everyone knew that sin was evil and that no good could come from evil. But he did feel good; he felt positively marvelous. Consequently, it followed logically that telling lies and defecting from duty could not be sins. The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization, and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.”