Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yeah!

Yeah for productive meetings! I feel like I've finally been able to share my feeling that the church has become less and less about a relationship with Jesus and more and more about things to do. Not only have I been heard, but I've also found that others are thinking the same thing. And that a survey of our congregation shows that they are not growing in their relationship with Christ. So... I feel a renewed sense of vigor about tackling this issue and hopefully arriving at a place that makes me more content with working in the church.

Whew! I'm sure glad because I was dreading having to look for another job.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feelin' Good

After having the most promising staff meeting in recent history... and after spending a great weekend laughing with my old college friends... I'm feeling pretty good about things!

Work is looking up in that we are talking more about helping people connect with God and less about unimportant stuff.

And I can't tell you how great it felt to laugh late into the night on Saturday. I really need to keep connected with my old friends because they are the ones who can put life into perspective for me and give me a more positive outlook. Not that my other friends can't do that... but right now some of my newer friends are in places of extreme emotion and depression. Life has not been good this year in many ways. I'm trying to find a way to hold onto that happy carefree attitude, while still respecting the grief and turmoil that others are enduring. Not exactly sure how I'm going to do that.

I'm looking forward to what will hopefully be a light, fun evening tonight having dinner with friends. And maybe I'll just think outside the box a little and actually go to that Stars game on Wednesday night.... even though I do have to get up the next morning!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

And One More Thing

"The Economic Crisis" still isn't effecting me in terms of the stock market, but I'll tell you what... I'm having a mini economic crisis of my own! God, time for a little mystery money to fall from the sky. Can you arrange that?!

A Pretend Job

It's not that what I do is bad. Maybe it's just not as necessary as I always thought it was. My perspective on it has changed. There's nothing inherently wrong about committing to prayers, presence, gifts and service. It's prioritizing that over your relationship with God that would be wrong. But the two things can coexist and probably do for some people. Maybe just not for me.

I always thought that my job in the church was working for God. That's where I was wrong. But most jobs don't really work for God... and lots of people are happy doing them. So maybe if I just accept that I'm working for men then the things we do around here will not seem to be a reflection on God. Does that make any sense whatsoever?

Maybe this will clarify: Colossians 3:23 says "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." That verse says to do things as if you work for God... in other words pretend. Let's try that for a couple of days and see what happens

Monday, October 20, 2008

Deep Breath

I've come to realize that I just hate October in this church. We spend so much time, energy, focus and money on getting people to commit to the organization... why?? What difference does it make if you check the little boxes and set up your auto-draft if you don't have a relationship with God? Oh, you could say that we're assuming that everyone who does make a commitment does have a relationship with God. But maybe that's not really the case. Since nothing about "stewardship month" actually has anything to do with a relationship with God, maybe the whole of our membership is duped into thinking that by filling out that form they are securing their salvation for another year! Maybe they fill out that form out of a sense of obligation to "the machine" (as I've come to call it) instead of out of any compelling move of the Spirit. I know that guilt made me fill that form out last year. But I'm not doing it again. The man-made machine may think that's blasphemy, but thank God they are not my final judge. I don't want a relationship with a machine. I want a relationship with God. And he has yet to ask me to check little boxes and sign my name.

So *inhale* - *exhale* - I'll take a deep breath and drag myself through the last of this month. Look for God in all of this... and hope that somehow I will find enough of a reason to continue on at this organization... if not by my membership then at least via work.

I've Already Forgotten

It only took one staff meeting... and now I've already forgotten what any of this has to do with God. It's a good thing no one reads my blog or I could get myself into trouble!

What does this have to do with God?

After some thought over the weekend, I think I've come to a decision about what my goal (at work) for 2009 will be: to answer the question, "What does this have to do with God?"

My reasoning is this: there is not one thing we do in the church that is required in order to have a relationship with God. I've never thought about this before, but that's my take-away from the book So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore. So what I would like to do in the coming year - if not for others, then simply to give myself a reason to show up here - is to make a "God Note" for everything we do that explains what this activity has to do with God. None of the things I promote and advertise to our congregation are requirements. They are all optional, and for the past three years we have rarely (if ever) explicitly connected them to anything spiritual. Maybe people do that in their own minds. But I would like to endeavor to make our communications more God-centered instead of activity centered.

I would hope that I can find the spiritual meaning behind each thing within one or two degrees of separation. By that, I mean that a lot of things don't seem overtly spiritual (i.e. playing golf), so you might have a degree or two of separation between God and the activity. Using that example, what does playing golf have to do with God? Playing golf brings you together with other people who share that interest (1st degree). Coming together with other people gives you the opportunity to share your faith walk together (2nd degree). In this case, playing golf also has to do with raising money for missions (1st degree). The money raised goes to help draw people to God by meeting the physical needs of those less fortunate (2nd degree). So in this example I've been able to find two ways in which the golf tournament has something to do with God, and both things are only a couple of degrees separated from God.

Of course I don't plan to be this lengthy when doing this in reality. I don't want to make E-News any more of a chore to read than it already is. What I'm thinking is that there will be a "God Note" link beside the title of each article, which would then go to an explanation of what that item has to do with God. I've also thought about including some sort of devotional thought each week, but again that adds to the length of E-News. An alternative would be to start a "God Notes" blog, RSS feed it to the home page of the website, and use that to explore the spiritual (God-related) aspects of the things we're doing in this organization.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm tired.

I'm tired of trying to change people's minds. I'm shocked at the racism and bigotry and fear-mongering that exists... and that it exists so prevalently in people that I actually know and love. But you can't pick your family, right?

I'm tired of worrying about money. If I could just have a $50,000 windfall, my life would be much easier. But I suppose there will always be a crisis of the moment... if it's not about money it will be about something else.

I'm tired of working hard to communicate about things that most people don't seem to care about (myself included). I'm supposed to be coming up with some sort of goal for next year, and I don't even know where to begin. My goal is to not quit my job... because if I consider this meaningless, some other job isn't going to be any better.

I'm tired of being philosophical. I'd like to be Pollyanna... not a care in the world. If only I didn't think about things so constantly. Most people don't... or at least if they do it doesn't seem to really effect their outlook on the world. Moods like this one make me wish I'd stayed 6 years old my whole life.

I'm tired of this presidential campaign. Can't we just elect Obama and get it over with?! I'd like to move on now. Let's get to the hope part.

I'm tired of needing to go to the restroom every 30 minutes. Maybe I should stop drinking.

I'm tired of the transfer unit in my color copier going out every other week. Let's try a little quality control, people!

I'm tired of 2008. Is it just me or has this year lasted for-freakin'-ever??

I'm tired of being bitchy. I need a happy pill, and quick!

I'm tired of being here. I just booked the last of my vacation days, so maybe that will help.

Mmmkkk. I think that's it. :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Question: How is the economic crisis effecting you?

Answer: It's not.

Oh, I could buy the argument that it effects everyone. But in all honesty, it's not effecting me personally. Why not? Because I have a solid income, a solid mortgage (which I pay every month), and very little money invested anywhere (and even the "little" is in an IRA that I won't need for many years to come).

The biggest thing that effects me is the never-ending bad news. It frustrates me because I know things will turn around. I know it's not the end of the world. But the way you hear about it on the news you'd think it's the apocalypse! The thing that makes this bad is that if you tell people that things are terrible, they will believe you!! People are going to believe what they hear on the news. They're going to hear about the doom and gloom, and then what? Then they stop spending money. And that only makes things worse.

So why don't we try this: stop talking about it for a while. Let the markets do what they will, but leave the media out of it. If people really need to know what the market is doing, they can find out without hearing it on the evening news. Stop editorializing about it and making predictions you can't substantiate. Stop starting every single morning with bad news... or rumors of bad news as the case may be. Just stop it. All you're doing is feeding the frenzy and the fear... making people think things are dire when the reality is maybe things are okay for most of us.

I do think that the presidential candidates need to be able to answer for how they will help the economic situation. That's going to be part of their job, if elected. But it's not the only part of the job. There are many other things at stake here. The economy just happens to be the "crisis of the moment" - but sooner or later something else will replace it. Something will be more important, more devastating, or more interesting. And we'll forget all about the current thing and look toward our leaders for help and hope regarding the next thing.

I just hope that we can all keep things in perspective. Hold on and know that this is going to pass, and when it does we'll all still be living our day-to-day lives just like we are now.