Friday! I love Friday, even better than Saturday. I especially love this Friday because… *whispering* I made it a whole week getting up early to walk/run. Last Friday, I bought some really cool exercise shirts and shorts… I’m obligated. Plus… I’m really tired of these extra 15 pounds. But I did it, and I lived. BTW, when you run until you think you’re going to die and then have to walk… that’s called ‘interval training’, not ‘wimping out’. However, in the ‘lack of positive reinforcement’ department, the scales haven’t moved. Jon tells me to be patient. I am not. Here’s what else is going on…
What am I writing? Not a living thing this week. I didn’t even plot or plan. Instead, I worked on VBS. It’s next week and I needed to get a handle on it. NEXT week, however, I hope to get started on a new draft. Claire’s book. I also plan to get the newsletter out next week- just a little late. (When I have a staff, this will never happen again, I’m sure.)
What have I learned? This week was ‘computer maintenance week’, electronic housekeeping- almost as much fun as the real stuff. This means next week, I won’t be able to find any files on my computer. I downloaded some audio file editing software from AVS4YOU. It was easy and intuitive. I also downloaded a ringtone maker, but haven’t had a chance to use it yet.
What am I reading? Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic by Anne Jackson. In this book, she is bold enough to shine a light on a reality most folks would prefer to ignore. The $64000 question, “Does working at this church interfere with your communion with Christ?” For whatever reasons, doing the ‘work’ of the church is sucking the life out of the workers. I admit I’ve been there, and not too long ago. Yes, I’ve tried to come down with the stomach flu between 8:30 and 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. Her discussion doesn’t pull any punches, but it’s not an exercise in church-bashing or staff-bashing. She’s quick to point out how we contribute to our own burnout when we lose focus on God whom we are to love with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. Her advice is simple, but not easy and may take a complete realignment in our thinking about how we ‘do’ ministry.
Two things struck me as I read. For a body who claims to depend on Christ’s strength, we are shamefully intolerant of frailties in our brother and sisters. Why would an unbelieving world want to bring their burdens to the foot of the cross when they see how we respond to each other. Perfection is not achieved in this life, period. We can’t expect in ourselves or demand it from others. Which brings me to the second point. Instead of transforming the culture, we have adapted the success-driven model around us, and have fallen into competitive comparison of our ministries. I think we genuinely want to see people transformed by the gospel, but the plan is God’s not ours. It is a very telling thing that minutes before His arrest, Jesus Christ prayed for our unity (John 17:21), not our protection, not our growth, not our success, but our unity.
Oh yeah, I’m also reading In the Wake of the Plague by Norman Cantor. My sister understands 😉
In fact, she got it for me.
What has God taught me? Stay focused… because He gave His life, because He makes me whole, because He strengthens me (because I need it!), because He deserves my total devotion, because my purpose on this earth is give Him my whole being as a living sacrifice.