Thursday, September 16, 2004

I'm starting to get back on the mend and feel like myself again just in time for the weekend. BBQ for college bound (and already started) students tommorrow night, that should make for a good time. The rain is imminent though, it may turn into a guy movie night which is better than a sharp stick in the eye.

I've been wrestling with a "label" that has been used in reference to myself and others that I am in community with. For those of us doing "fill in the blank here" (simple church, house church, organic church, missional communities), a label that has been thrown around in description of us as leaders or as people is ANGRY. I've heard it a few times as a criticism of me and I've heard friends of mine share similar criticisms they have received. Often we have laughed about it (can you laugh when your angry?), but its been on my mind over the last couple weeks. Is it a label that I wish to wear?

I will admitt to my brokeness. I will admitt that I planted Ordinary Community in a crisis of faith during feelings of desperation. I will admitt that I feel pain deeply and have high expectations for the ideals of Kingdom. I will admitt that I'm a kid from philly who wears his passions on his sleeve. I will admitt that I will speak openly about the things I believe are right. But honestly, anger is not a daily reality for me. I have never felt so loved in my entire existence. I have never felt so at peace. I love being a Dad, husband, friend, teacher, spiritual director, evangelist (in my own way), community member, son, sports fan, pastor etc. etc. I never knew that I could experience the contentment that I have today and the risks taken to get here were the best decisions I ever made. I'm in for the long haul now, I'm not hanging by a string. I feel the privelege of picking fights with the enemy on a daily basis and feeling very confident that I am an agent of Kingdom change here on earth.

So how is it that I'm perceived as angry? Am I angry because I refuse to use my giftedness (pastoral leadership) as a vocation? Am I angry because I ask hard questions? Am I angry because I am better at creating than I am maintaining? Am I angry because I measure success differently? Am I angry because I believe that small is strategic? Am I angry because I want $$ to be a non-issue for ministry? Am I angry because I reject business/consumer models for church? Am I angry because I don't conform well? Am I angry because I'm not a traditionalist? Am I angry because I'm emotional? Am I angry because I view relationships as an end and not a means? Am I angry because I dwell in the middle of major paradigms that are shifting and its hard for us to understand each other?

What is more accurate is that I have probably been too critical of views outside of my own, that's not anger, its immaturity and I'm starting to see the light in that area. I am pro-Kingdom as long as we all understand that form influences function, which is true of all forms.

I've done the work of introspection and I'm honestly going to chalk this one up to the language barrier between differing worldviews. We don't know each other and its hard for us to communicate because we use different language and rest in different values. But the Kingdom is a big idea and I frankly lack the time to be angry. I'm having too much fun being creative in His Kingdom playground.


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