I was planning on blogging about Deuteronomy tonight. I had all these clever things to say about the weird parts where they mention testicle injuries.
And then, I got this phone call. It was the latest development in this ongoing drama. A whole bunch of people I know are in the middle of variations on this same theme. The theme is “Pastor messes up, church is in a mess.”
None of these people know each other. And I only know one person in each of these cases. I don’t know the pastors or anybody else at the church. Each of these “unconnected” events is strikingly similar. It’s in fact, pretty weird that they are all occurring simultanously.
I concocted lots of plausible explanations for why these might be occuring at the same time. But it occurred to me, the fact that they are simultanous, that’s not really the issue. Because the truth is, this sort of thing happens all the time. There are probably dozens, hundreds, thousands of similar dramas playing out that I’m totally unaware of.
The more relevant question is, “Why am I aware of these all going on at the same time.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but even better more important “Why has God drawn my attention to these things, all going on at the same time?”
It is quite conceivable that these events might have happened and I wouldn’t have known of them. The people who I know who are directly involved, they could just as easily have not shared these stories with me.
Again, there are all sorts of potential reasons why. But none of them have heard me talk about one and said, “Wow, I’m going through something just like that…” Each one has told me quite unbeknownst to the others.
I don’t think that I have any great wisdom to share with any of these people. They are mature and much better prepared to understand these situations than I am, as I am not at ground zero of any of them. What this leads me to, is the possibility that God is drawing my attention to all these things so that I might learn something.
I’m not, by the way, suggesting that all these things happened just to teach me some sort-of life lesson. I’m suggesting that once they occurred, God used them for His Glory, as he uses all things. God is awesome that way. And one little-itty bitty tiny piece of God’s Glory is helping me to be a little less of a knucklehead. Because if I’m less of a knucklehead, this glorifies God.
So I prayed over the issue. It’s probably too early for me to be sure of exactly what God wants me to learn out of all this. But I have a thought, a stirring, a little voice, a suspicion.
When I began to puzzle it out, it seemed much more important to share than the funny part of Deuteronomy where scripture says if a women jumps in the middle of a fight between her husband and another man, and where if the woman grabs his testicles, she deserves to have it chopped off.
What occurs to me is that when we engage in ministry, we are engaged in something not only sacred but also primal. A fundamental force in the universe. We should go to God as our father, as our dad, in authenticity and real love.
But this, it’s not something to be trifled with. It’s not something to be taken casually.
I worship in jeans and t-shirts, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I love the people I get to do ministry with deeply, and I’m proud of that.
But I’m feeling convicted tonight, because some times I treat it like a game. Sometimes it’s hang out time. Sometimes God’s not in the front seat.
God should be in the front seat, all the time. How absurd that I could sit in a church, and be part of planning things, and treat Him like an abstraction, like a concept, like an object.
This doesn’t happen all the time. I’m blessed with good leaders at church, and people in ministry with me who are generally more spiritually mature than me. But I’m responsible for my own choices, and only I know the content of my heart. Sometimes it’s not what it should be.
God is the creator of the universe. I guess because we are broken we tend to trivilize that. This is maybe the root of all these stories that are distantly connected to me. This is the root of the fall from Eden. And it is the root, I’m learning, of something I do sometimes, too.