Saturday, April 12, 2003

A Very Special Blog

Last night wrapped up the three show run of the Story of Jesus with Saga Storytellers. It was a great experience. Life has never felt truer than it does right now. I have been waiting until today to try to unpack some thoughts and passions that have been emerging within me over the last four months. Here goes...

I can clearly see how the decade of my twenties was a season of questioning and searching. This was primarily centered around issues of spirituality, theology and church. I am grateful for all of the lessons learned in that decade and even more grateful for all of the relationships that were formed in those years. I am the person that was created in those years. But, the time has fully come to transition into a new creature, building on those years as a foundation.

I am at peace with my faith. I have nothing left to try to prove in regard to church. To put it in a somewhat negative framework, I am done obsessing over church. I have seen all of the joys and frustrations of church life manifested in both simple and complex forms. I am a follower of Jesus...there I proved it to myself. I'm available to help others follow Jesus if they want my help. I cannot follow him alone, therefore I will always be in a covenant relationship with other followers. I will serve Jesus as a gospel seed planter and a teacher, because he has given me the ability to do those things. I will receive from my church anything that they are compelled to give me, including financial support, but I will not assume that I deserve such support for the rest of my days. I will encourage the church local, national and global because I have the opportunity to be a blessing. I will love, support and give my life to the Apex network because I love the people there and they are my family.

I will not, however, try to force the church into my image. I will not believe the lie that my identity is associated with the appearant success or failure of the church to which I belong. I will trust God to build his Kingdom on earth. I will trust Him to turn the hearts of men, women and children to himself. I believe in Soveriegnty. I will be faithful to my Father, the Perfect Architect, by keeping my childish hands away from the blueprints of Heaven. Today I say: I am a Christian waiting for the full expression of the Kingdom of Heaven...and that is enough.

All of this brings me to a deep realization regarding the concept of a calling or vocation. I have said time and time again that "I have been called to" various ideas, people, causes, or places. Looking back on all of those statements, I see how those feelings were by and large stating that "I have been called to Jesus, therefore, I am called to"...whatever the idea of the moment was. If I was called to anything over the last decade, the calling was to Jesus. It took me a long time, but toward the end of last year, I finally accepted the calling. I was converted. I am a Christian.

Almost immediately, a new vocation or calling begin to emerge. This one felt different than the first. The first calling, to Jesus, had not passed, but a new secondary call was emerging...and it was in no way what I could have expected. I expected a "call" to simple churching or church planting, but somehow those things were just part of my general call to Jesus. For me to follow Jesus, I must understand church as simple, organic and reproductive. Because I have been called to Christ, I am called to seeing every moment with others as an expression of church.

Through the strangest series of events this year, my calling, or what the ancients would call their Christian vocation, became evident. I am preparing to devote my life to the people of the performing arts. Not to the art per se, but to those souls in my city and abroad who act, sing, dance, write, direct, and produce. I want to serve them, to love them, to listen to them and to share my life and faith with them. They are my Ninevah, my Rome, my Ethiopia. I could go to a million different people, and to this point in my life I have, but God has finally opened the door of my heart to a tribe that needs him. I must obey.

I finally understand why Henri Nouwen left everything to be with the physically challanged. Why Mother Theresa left everything to be with the poor. Why Patrick left everything to be with his captors. Why Francis left everything to be with the lonely. Why Paul left everything to be with the pagans. Why Jesus left everything to be with sinners. Because they loved them. I have found a people that I cannot help but love. They deserve my life. I must go to love them, not to change them.

This realization has made me eerily happy. Perhaps it is joy. Perhaps it is the resurrection that only follows death. I have dreaded turning 30 for ten years, only to find the first stages of life, freedom and peace at this time of my life.

I cannot honestly know what this calling will mean to my daily life, but I am not afraid. Saga is part of it, but only a part. God is in control and He will provide for his children.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has given us a new birth into a living hope.

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