Monday, July 16, 2007

happy birthday 2 u jifc

sorry to have been offline since wednesday. busy getting ready for journey's birthday party; out of town guests for 2 days; late new warrior meeting thursday; sermon writing somewhere in there; more work setting up for birthday party; another new warrior function; and the party yesterday.

it was ... glorious. we had worship at the warehouse and it was energetic and sweet-feeling and funny and heart-felt. i had had SO much trouble figuring out what to say about Samson. at first when gentiles (yes, that really is my co-pastor's last name) (and diamond is a predominantly jewish name) (; we rock!) and i were coming up with this worship unit, about how god uses losers, and we included Samson ... i thought i'd get to Samson, despite being a blockhead, was used in mighty ways by god. turns out, the more time i spent with him, the more i felt that Samson had been given a gift - and had wasted it, used it for himself, and was just an asshole. in the book of Judges, we only get a few episodes out of what are probably lots of other oral tradition stories about Samson as a Judge of Israel. but the ones we have? he's an asshole. at the end of his life he is humbled, and broken, and kills "more philistines on that day than he had before." and that's the happy ending. or whatever.

yeah, i don't see the violence and bloodthirst that was acceptable in the ancient world (and sometimes in the current world? sometimes even in america the beautiful?) as a helpful model for how to follow jesus. but it was the ancient world after all.

anyway, the more time i sat with it, i thought, Well, this is ... weird. it's party day - celebrating that journey turned 3 years old on july 11 - having a gigantic picnic - waterslides and games for the kids - barbeque and homemade desserts - the new journey tshirt debut - and yet we're doing a worship service centered around not something joyful and celebratory, but an asshole who kills people for fun, and then kills more people and that's his greatest achievement.

but god said to me - saturday afternoon (no, it's okay, god, i wasn't worried or anything) - that it's just about self. where do you look for help, source, light, power? do you know you are beloved, or are you relying on all your own strength? are you in ego, shadow, fear, constructed self? or are you in spirit? are you dealing with the shit in your soul and head, or are you denying it? in which case, the gifts god is giving you all the time? you're going to miss them. and you're still the beloved, but it's not nearly as powerful a way to live.

my daughter said to me saturday, "selfishness is about itself. it's not healthy. it's fearful. but to trust yourself [this was code for "god" but i didn't say that because it's a bitch to be a preacher's kid; that's why L and i give our 2 kids all the room they want about christian language, god language, etc.] and believe in yourself and act in healthy ways means that you'll be able to practice getting out of yourself. and then your life will flow."
so, that was what the birthday party was about. is my life for me, or is it to give away and so make the world better? if i focus on myself and how wonderful i am, or how wonderful i'm not (both the same trip) or how wonderful my church is, my resume is, my house is - or how wonderful they aren't - the focus is all on me. and all that god energy is stuck, and it comes out sideways in chaos and meanness and self-destructiveness, etc. but if i say "God, i'm your beloved. you're present. bring the power, and use it. do your thing. i'll join in" -

well, that's when you get to have a joyful party like we did yesterday.

3 comments:

writeright007 said...

well... all interesting and a fun gathering to boot!
and your thoughts on the subject of the power of God wow interesting!
i have a question...if you let the spirit flow through you and your doing your preacher thing do you feel different? some kind of powerful difference? do you feel more intune with the members?
i would like to hear your take on
how the power of God works in you and what it feels like as compared to when your stuck in the selfish mode and things are chaotic . big question i know. but i figure its good for you to think about and i am intriged by this subject.
Nancy

nonprofitprophet said...

Nancy, I can't speak for Rick (although I think we would agree) but when I am teaching or speaking, especially in my small group, I do "feel different", as if God is going through me. My whole persona changes to one of passion, excitement and charisma. I may have had a crappy start to my morning and being self centered or not so nice to my family or whatever, but when I do my thing - its all good and I can tell the difference. Its weird really. I almost feel like Jekyl and Hyde but I'm not, its just different facets to my person that comes out in many different ways. But, it feels really good. ~npp

nonprofitprophet said...

Nancy, I can't speak for Rick (although I think we would agree) but when I am teaching or speaking, especially in my small group, I do "feel different", as if God is going through me. My whole persona changes to one of passion, excitement and charisma. I may have had a crappy start to my morning and being self centered or not so nice to my family or whatever, but when I do my thing - its all good and I can tell the difference. Its weird really. I almost feel like Jekyl and Hyde but I'm not, its just different facets to my person that comes out in many different ways. But, it feels really good. ~npp