Wednesday, 15 April 2009

new-to-me thoughts on "leadership"

April 15, 2009

(This is a continuation of my thoughts from yesterday! If you want to see what started me down this trail, go to the April 14 blog at my penandpapermama blog)

This morning when I woke up I was thinking about a project that a pastor I know is doing - developing a dozen or so husband-and-wife leadership couples. He had been talking about the whole "being in the zone" with the Holy Spirit, and how God seems to do His work in spirals or seasons (rather than in a linear style)... and then he started talking about "leadership couples" ... and I have to admit, when he started in with the "L" word, I very nearly automatically tuned out, because over the past few years I have to admit it has become a "dirty word" to me, related to control and rigid systems and programs, with little room left for the flow of the Spirit... and to resulting power struggles, and pain and hurt and anger, and church/ family splits...

but as I lay there waking up this morning, I remembered something else ___ said... that before he could become a leader of leaders, he needed himself to surely "be in the flow," in the "zone" of God's Spirit and work -- rather than designing a plan and then begging God to come onboard and honor it. And it occurs to me that if he really means that, he is talking about a totally different kind of "leadership" ... more of a role-modeling and encouragement from one who has already learned (to some degree) to walk the way/ path, who already is really in relationship with Father, really living in the vine... and who can, by life example, encouragement, teaching (as it is integrally involved in living the Life), exhorting...

Like Paul said, follow my example as I follow Christ's example. So this is a leadership of BEing, modeling, mentoring... rather than of theory, control, etc...

"BE as I am ... as I have learned to BE as Jesus is" rather than "DO as I say [which, sadly, more often than not, ends up with "not as I do."].

I have been thinking, myself, that the only way to really "cure the ills" of "systematized" churches (and Christian schools, and other "Christian" institutions and organizations) is to first destroy all the scaffolding that surrounds them and holds them up, raze it to the ground, and then start over on the simple foundation of God alone... with the freedom that provides...

But I wonder... if people could learn to live "in the zone/ in the flow" of Your Spirit, Your life... and "lead" others into that place in a truly "shepherding" way... a "BEing" way... and then they in turn lead others... maybe if that really happened, the "scaffolding" would just naturally fall away because it is no longer necessary... and if some aspects of such scaffolding, which in their present forms have come to function as a prison - maybe they would be freed from man's "doing"/ control to allow God Himself to use them freely as He chooses.

Maybe purposeful "razing" could end up being a "DO-ing" in itself... and inevitably become precursor to just another "system"...

Father, I don't know "the answer/ method/ whatever" ... but maybe that is good... because maybe it means, finally, that we have to do just as John was saying... just as You said in Your Word: live YOUR life... in You, the Vine, in Your Spirit, in Your love... being in Your Oneness, Your unity... BEing like Jesus...

and as we walk with You, in relationship with You, we will live Your Life and Love... and others will see us, observe, listen, question, participate - a natural leadership, that is - that happens, develops, grows, spreads, passes on... rather than a programmed, trained, systematized, controlled method! In fact, the leaders are not "formally trained and set in position" or "appointed" or even "self-proclaimed"... but are simply recognized by the rest of the body/ believers (even by those in the world!) as people who are already Living Your Life, in the flow of Your Spirit (by Your plan and provision, right?)... and people see that, recognize, and want to be there too, so they follow... and in their following, those they follow are leading them!

So what I'm thinking ___ was saying (?) was that he himself is learning to walk that Walk, and is encouraging others who obviously also want to walk that Walk... who are willing to learn from him, be mentored by him, be his children in the faith... and who will progressively themselves be released to be examples/ mentors to still others (but oh! we have to STAY in the flow... and to be oh, so careful, to resist the temptation to become selfish, "me"-centered, dirty-L-word leaders!)

Rom 4:9 ... Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness... 11... So then, he is the FATHER of all who believer... 12...WHO ALSO WALK IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE FAITH that our father Abraham had... 13... righteousness that comes by faith...

Sunday, 12 April 2009

conversation and community, worship, church, Bible reading, serving...

More email tidbits… (April 11, 2009)

She wrote: “We read your whole letter out loud and heartily understood every single feeling and totally appreciate you verbalizing some of our troubling thoughts in this transition time” … and I responded….
Thank you! I have felt like I have no one to talk to … and while I love to write, I was really feeling the need for oral conversation… and to think you guys read it out loud and talked about it out loud, even if I couldn’t be there physically, really helped to know that… and maybe listening to those podcasts was like that too, because they are two guys (the ones who wrote So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore? [aka the Jake book] and the one who wrote He Loves Me! ) just talking back and forth (and laughing a lot) and reading aloud emails they receive from listeners and responding orally to them… it’s like listening to a bunch of people in conversation! And I was sitting there at my computer listening, and at the same time scanning and uploading photos onto facebook, and eating brownies, and folding laundry… like I was just with a bunch of friends sitting around talking while carrying on with life… the way we had fun talking with you guys out there when you were making supper and we went walking on the beach and all…

…. After I wrote that to you about the whole worship thing, I’ve been kind of hankering to get out my guitar and strum a bit… it’s been so long that I’m afraid I’ll have forgotten how… but maybe that’s good… old things passed away… new things, new ways, new praises, new sense – actually new knowing – of God’s presence! And then one of my daughter’s phone another all worried about me because she could see that I was so down, not just in pain, but hurting and lonely, and the second daughter phoned and encouraged me to do something creative… she suggested getting out my drawing pad and sketching… anything, she said, even just little circles! (And come to think of it, I’d like to do that too!).

But it does make me think that maybe there is something to this urge to get out my guitar, too… With no “agenda” but just to strum a bit and see what comes of it. It’s beginning to warm up outside, was up to 20 C a couple days this week, though it’s a bit cooler this weekend… so I could go outside and strum, since my hubby and my son aren’t too fond of my indoor strumming!

One of the things they talked about on that podcast was what it means to “take up your cross” and they were laughing with joy about it, which is kind of cool… and I can see how that is worship too…

And they told this funny little story about how one of them got invited to this Southern Baptists church down in Georgia I think it was, really Southern Baptist Bible Belt country anyway… because some of the people in that church had begun to really get into relationship with God, and it upset the others so much that they up and left the “troublemakers” behind… along with the big fancy building and all… and they started their own church with a new fancy building…. And the funny thing was that the ones left behind with the original big fancy building didn’t want a building at all anymore, and here they were stuck with it, and wondering how to unload themselves of all the churchianity stuff, which is why they invited to guy to come talk with them (after they first chatted with his friend who wrote “The Shack”!). They were finding the whole buildings-and-programs-thing to be interfering with their walk with Father, so they’re just selling it all and seeing where God wants to take them… and isn’t that cool, they have the “worship place” available and they really want to worship, so they’re just walking away from it! (The part that really struck me funny was that the “we love the building” people went out and bought another building… when they could have kept that one for free…).

….. a friend wrote: “I tend to read Paul last [as I read through the Bible]. My mind clears from the whirl of the vast scope of Scripture as Paul, by the Spirit, reveals the mysteries of God’s overall purpose, soaring as he does into truths unknown until his revelation clears everything up for those who will take the time to understand.” …. And I responded:

I’ve been feeling bogged down in my read-through this year (I’m reading 2 OT chapters, 1 Psalm, 1 NT chapter daily, plus been doing a study in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, usually a chapter or so a day)… it seems like all that OT stuff is dragging on me… yesterday I listened to a podcast where the guy was saying that the OT characters, for a large part, had an incomplete picture of God, which is one of the reasons Jesus came, so we could really know Father. I think that I have been so wrapped up, the last few months, in that OT picture, that I’ve been losing sight of God as my loving Father, and Jesus as my Savior (and God incarnate! Alive! Touchable! “Real!”)… Of course, I have also read through the 4 gospels, and they’ve been a “relief” and yet… so much of what happens in them is a mixture of the new good news brought by Jesus, but butting up against the old incomplete law-bound view of God… well, that does turn up in Paul’s epistles too, of course, but he so clearly, joyfully, assuredly, like you say, “reveals the mysteries of God’s overall purpose” … and “clears up” all that bogged-down-edness (okay, Webster, add that word to your dictionary, lol!) once and for all! Yay! I was getting to the point that my daily reading was becoming a chore… and you’ve encouraged me to keep on because there is light, glorious, wonderful, radiant light down the road, further along in the story… and I am also feeling freed from the nagging guilt that the enemy dangles, if I should (oh my! Nasty!) dare to skip ahead and read the ending before I’ve finished the end of the book!...

…… a friend wrote: “In all, 17 years would pass as this inner formation of Christ worked his [Paul’s] self-righteousness and religious zeal into all the qualities he would develop: love, joy, peace, meekness, self-control…” … and I responded:

Now that’s encouraging… if it took Paul 17 years… maybe I’m not such a failure/slowpoke after all … seriously, I’m thinking maybe some “alone with God” time is a good thing… one of the things we’ve been discouraged from… I’ve always been told that “wee need each other so we don’t fall into heresy” … but in my experience, a good part of the “heresy” I’ve picked up along the way was from “each other” and it has taken “alone time with God” to even see it for what it is…. Yes, we do need each other… but our most important source of truth is the TRUTH Himself… and yes, I was also always told to “check out what you hear from people, in the Word of God”… but when those people are using the Word of God (quite effectively, I might add) to convince others of their ideas, it becomes clear that if I’m not at the same moment, like Mary, truly sitting at the feet of Jesus, learning from Him, wrapped up in His Life… well, to truly know the Word, obviously, is to KNOW THE WORD… (I’m afraid I’m a bit of a rabbit-warren sort… yikes… I have a hard time compartmentalizing… lol, maybe I’ve also been in a de-compartmentalizing process. (Yay! I’m de-scheduling… I guess I’m in a DE stage of life… started with de-schooling, and de-school-at-home-homeschooing, then de-churching, and de-Christian-schooling… and now, apparently, de-scheduling too! Lol...)…

…. And then he talked about “inworking” of the Holy Spirit, which leads to “outworking” toward others…. and I responded:

I know what you are saying. In some ways, it is “easier” to “preach Him among the gentiles” and to “outwork to others” when one is part of the “religious system.” You just, you teach a Bible study, or Sunday School class, or help in the soup kitchen, or clean the washrooms (if you are really humble, hmmmm) and … voila! Obligation fulfilled! (ummm… “obligation” … isn’t that a “dirty-word” related to the “system”? hmmm… :-~)… But yes, I’ve been worried about getting too philosophical myself… It really can become a “distraction”… I’m suspecting that our “philosophy” and “in-grown-ness” is a very sneaky trap of the enemy… to make us blissfully think we’re “knowing the Lord” when, indeed, we’re falling back into the old trap of “knowing about the Lord”… At the same time, I’m wondering… if we’ve become “unaware” of opportunities to serve… doesn’t that also mean we aren’t where we should be, relationship-wise, with Father… And then, I wonder… what if we really ARE serving, only we don’t recognize it as “serving” because it doesn’t fit in any of the old “parameters” that we have equated with “service/ ministry/ whatever” … (of course, that could be the enemy rationalizing my lack of service for me… and it could be… but I’m also thinking that it IS hard for us to every day just ask God how He wants us to live within His love today… and then just take the day, as He sends it… moment by moment… We are SO “package” and “future-plans” oriented… Knowing you, I’m pretty sure you are “serving” every day… unplanned, moment-to-moment living the life and love of Jesus… but I think that when we are in the middle of it, we just don’t see it happening… and the enemy likes to jump on that, and lay a guilt-trip on us… Of course, we need to be “alert” to his tricks...

Interesting question… “Are you finding meaningful outlets for the glory of God (the character of Christ) as it is formed in you?” …. I’m wondering… if “meaningful” might, in the Jesus way, be more about meaningful-to-others (including Him), than meaningful-to-myself… We so, in our “natural” being, want our life to be “meaningful to me”… and the “church” has encouraged (or perhaps even exploited) that… “Find your passion… find a ministry that is meaningful to you… come to our church where you’ll find meaningful worship… etc etc etc” … Maybe that’s another ploy of the enemy… I’m thinking… even if it doesn’t “feel meaningful” to me, still, if I’m living within Christ’s love right now, every right now, continuous present, then I’m living the “Christ in me” life… and He is using me, even if I can’t “see it” ….

We do that, of course, sometimes… ignoring “serving the Lord” .. which suggests that we can look back and see an opportunity we recognized and yet we chose to do something else that seemed more pleasant… and then, of course, that is disobedience… and we need to repent of it and then let it go, and determine not to go that way again… But at the same time, if we are seriously “choosing simply to know Him” (versus “knowing about Him” which is a place I know I sometimes go, because I love to “study and learn” and it can become a trap for me…) but if we are “choosing to KNOW HIM” I’m thinking the “service” will happen when it’s supposed to… I was thinking about that this morning… about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus… while Martha was bustling around “serving” … and Jesus gently but firmly chided Martha for not choosing the “better thing” .. the best thing! … and Mary did end up having an opportunity to serve… it was her, wasn’t it, who anointed Jesus’ feet (much to Judas’ annoyance!) … and just as Jesus foretold, Mary’s moment of service (which seemed so foolish in the eyes of the world) is remembered through the ages as a blessing, while Martha’s wonderful meal and clean house and busy hospitality which probably looked very good then to the assembled guests, is view with… well, a degree of ridicule, perhaps, in the long range view of things?

As you know, I’ve been going through an “out of the loop” and “dis-satisfied” time myself… But I’m beginning to see that it’s also been, with its physical pain, and emotional loneliness, and even mental fatigues, a time when Father has been birthing more of Christ in me… though I sure couldn’t “see it” in the midst of it all … (Hmmm… maybe I’ve been going through a de-satisfying process too! … okay, enough already!)

So maybe what we feel as dis-satisfaction could actually be that you haven’t been “serving as we should” (oh dear… there’s that “should” word… but I will restrain myself from following it down another rabbit-warren-track, lol!)… or perhaps it’s simply that the labor pains are long and hard, and we’re feeling a bit impatient to see the birthing be complete? … like we are when we watch our children’s growing-up process, you know?

Out of commission... serving... Mary or Martha? ... community...

April 11, 2009

Interesting… You also sent me (finally) to the Godjourney podcasts after ___ posted a link to it yesterday on fb… I listened while scanning photos… and You clearly answered my questions about feeling “alone” with “the church group” … wow, thank You!

I can see now how You “took me out of commission” for a whole variety of reasons…
- time to de-church (like de-school)
- time with my kids
- make me realize that that job (which was tempting as it seemed to be a “passport” to the Island and buying a house) isn’t what You want for me.
- You made me ready to listen to those podcasts (which I have been resisting for a good two years nearly!) (because I “don’t like to listen” … to “religious programming” … hmmm… just realized that! Somehow it’s tied up in my mind with “having to listen to” endless sermons/ preaching at me/ forced learning/ teaching jammed down my throat/ etc.
- etc!

I realized so much, listening to those podcasts (running in the background as I uploaded those great old pictures!) (I liked that… I even ran some parts over again, not wanting to “miss” things that caught my attention).

I think I was getting “hung up” on church structure and stuff, and losing track of real relationship with You. Thank You for this time of pain and discouragement that has made me realize how lonely and frustrated I’ve become… because of being distracted from “that good thing – You”… like Martha… oh Lord God, Papa… and Jesus and Sarayu… I want to be Mary sitting at Your feet.

One of the podcasts was talking about leaders, and how the leaders You choose just naturally fulfill the roles You prepare them for and lead them through. They don’t need special training and positions and job titles and pay cheques to somehow validate what just IS in their life, because they are walking with You where You lead and provide and empower (in-power?!?).

I still find myself thinking, “I have to do something to serve God, to be a good Christian, to make the church people – and my family, even – happy… and apparently, to make You happy, by extension…”

But I don’t. I just need to be sitting at Your feet… and You will use me along the pathway of Your love, our love, our relationship, in the daily pathways of life… like Mary anointing Your feet in love and humbleness… and being remembered forever for her simple deed of pure, unadulterated love for You!

Yesterday I was sitting at Your feet, with Your people (via podcast!)… the two guys in the conversation, and also the crowds listening in, and the email responses that they read and discussed, and the testimonies / stories of peoples lives beings changed by Your love, by their journey with You, in Your love!

I was to re-listen… and listen to other podcasts from the Godjourney (when You so lead)! Here are the notes I took yesterday: (about loneliness when one is freed from the system):

- There is a shepherd attending to His flock… and He knows where they are out there… and He is doing a good job.
- Wake up every day and ask God, “How do You want me to live with love today?” Just be engaged with whoever God sends along.
- Stop looking for a package. God just want to put people in front of you.
- God knows how to connect the parts of His body – it is God who builds the body!
- Community is a gift from God (… and He gives good gifts to His children who ask Him… and I actually don’t think I’ve asked! Father, please provide Your community for me… and please help me to “live with love today,” being engaged with whoever You send along, sharing our journey, and Your/ our/ my love!)

…. Later… so I just emailed a friend… and then phoned her… and she told me that You are showing them that the blood of Jesus covers our body as well as spirit and soul… and that we don’t need to accept satan’s physical oppression… and it was You telling me, “This is what I’m showing you! Just ask and I will heal. Just ask and I will bring community. Just ask and I will clear your mind, and you will be able to do whatever I bring your way.” It’s like You are bringing them that taped message, and asking them to act on it – which You are bringing me a healed body and mind and spirit … and using them to explain to me how that all happened/ worked! Wow… cool!

and answers

April 10, 2009

Yesterday I got an email from a friend about “our church” and I emailed back saying I just don’t know how to respond, that I feel sick to my stomach about the last big blow-up and don’t know anymore what to think… that I feel like maybe I’m just crazy…

And she wrote back that Your Spirit does speak to me… and then I closed the email and did a couple things, and then went to Your Word and prayed my usual prayer that You would open Your Word to my heart… and right then You so clearly spoke to me and said that her word about Your Spirit speaking to me, was itself a Word from You… and that what I was at first so sure was You releasing me from “church” … and then me feeling unsure and depressed and wondering if I was wrong… well, Your word to me was YOUR WORD, Your Spirit speaking to me! Thank You! (So that covers the whole “Christian school” teaching job question, too, doesn’t it? Yes. Thank You!)

So of course I don’t know what is going to happen now, when/ where/ what/ how/ why our future might be… but I do know WHO: You! Wow! Thank You. Praise Your holy name. I love You, Lord!

reflecting on community... and lots of questions...

April 6 2009 email tidbits

Loved reading this email you sent about the gathering of women who support each other. I think that is something we really really miss in our society… I think in the old days when there really were “villages” and people lived close together all their lives, and every woman was a sister and mom and auntie and grandma to all, I think that is something we really need. Even when things were terrible-terrible, they were there for each other… I think now we don’t even have any idea how that happens, if we haven’t grown up like that… But when I watch interactions of girls and women who have grown up in a close-knit village, even where there is a lot of chaos and sorrow and pain, I see that they still have each other to cling to, to support, to be cared for, even if to an outsider it looks like maybe it’s co-dependency or something… maybe it really is, at a deeper level, the kind of community/ village relationship that was meant to be, even with all the bad stuff mixed in, it’s still under there…

A big part of it, what we’ve lost, is the ability to be transparently honest… Our society demands that we “look good” no matter what is going on… Our churches demand it, too, because if you don’t do that, you’re afraid the church will say that you aren’t “trusting God” or that you “lack faith” or are “not a good Christian” or that you are “making the church look bad” or whatever… I wonder how long that has been going on? I wonder if it actually takes totally hitting bottom to become honest… because then there’s no other hope… or if it really is (I hope) that even in the midst of all the sorrow and trouble, the sense of village, family, community has somehow hung in there through thick and thin… I think it is this thing, this sense of community that I’ve seen, especially among those women, that keeps me wanting to go somewhere where centuries of institutional (church, school, state, etc) influence, and also transience, everybody moving far from each other, hasn’t totally destroyed that sense…

.... There is a French teaching opening at a Christian School on Vancouver Island… but I just don’t feel like I want to get “systemed” again… besides, you have to become an “active member” of their church if you want to teach there…. big temptation to apply so we could move… but I’m thinking that’s not God’s way….

…. (reflecting on Ezra) : I’m feeling “in ruins” these days… having a really hard time being “the house of God”… being in relationship… part of it is from being in pain so much, which makes me tired and depressed and spacey; and part of it is from suddenly realizing my mom is gone (almost a year later…) and feeling sad and lonely about that… but I think it’s also from feeling “alone”… I mean, I know I’m not alone when I’m with Father, of course, but I’m feeling so disconnected from the rest of His family…

I’m skittish about “leaders” these days… and it seems like most people don’t want out of “Babylonian captivity” anyway… like maybe they don’t want to actually “see” the ruins… maybe it’s just easier to stay in the land of exile… than to face seeing the rubble, and having to make a decision to face the truth of it… and to do the hard work of clearing out and starting from scratch and building totally anew… and seeing that the “new temple” doesn’t look as “grand” and “big” as the old one… wanting to be able to “physically see the grand temple” than to realize that the spiritual temple is what is really important, but it’s often much harder to see…

But maybe if the gathering place really was destroyed, made into a mound of rubble, and to be exiled, would be good, because then there would be real longing for the true city of God and the true gathering place… as long as the “old temple” remains standing, and the rituals continue, even if they’ve pretty much lost all real meaning, maybe there’s no real desire to truly meet with and know God… hmmm… am I making any sense? (Still feeling kind of fuddled…)

I feel like I’ve been in an Ezra kind of place… except that while I’ve still been more or less in favor with the “king and his advisors”- pastor and congregation, you know – they are NOT backing me, they want to hold me back there… they really don’t believe that the ruins are really ruins, I think…. I think they think that it’s still capable of being “renovated” or whatever… not that it’s been burned to the ground, and all the rocks, even the foundation ones, broken and scattered… or at least the “rocks” that have replaced/ become the foundation, because maybe they’ve lost view of the fact that the real Foundation is a Rock that can never be moved… does this make any sense?

I know we fast and pray… but then I wonder how much we really are humbling ourselves, if we are really willing to take wise guidance, if it means we might have to totally break with what we hold dear… even to totally destroy the connections to the present way… but what if they are humbled, and it is me who is being “proud” about my level of “emancipation” or whatever… and I’m not doing so well these days talking to Father about these things… but maybe if I’m well enough to be writing, I’m well enough to get back to really talking to Him… Father? yes, okay… 

…. Another thing that worries me: this question that keeps nibbling at the corner of my mind, “Do you really think you’re going to find a gathering of God’s people where there isn’t trouble?” … and I hope it’s just the enemy nagging… but my experience says otherwise… because of course if I am there, there’s going to be trouble… so is it then better to just stay where one is and try to “fix it from the inside”? … but I don’t see that helping either… Of course I’m awfully short-sighted…

Maybe what I’m looking for is support, help… But I keep thinking, “I shouldn’t need to look for help. Because I have the Spirit of God… so Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit are always with me” but then I think, “But He designed for us to be part of the family”… “the family” hmmm… that’s ALL the family, isn’t it? So I don’t have a right, do I, to feel critical toward parts of the family who see things differently than I do? (or do I?) Does that mean I shouldn’t “leave” them, should carry on, try to “open their eyes” … but maybe they think MY eyes need opening! … who’s right?..) (I don’t want to go back into the land of bondage, of exile from the heart, the throne of Papa… and I don’t see how going back “to help them see” is going to help… unless Father sends me there very specifically… in which case He would empower me to stay free of the shackles even while surrounded by them, wouldn’t He?) (It’s an awful temptation, when you’re feeling “alone” to try to kind of walk the fence… to try to be “in but not of” … but how far does that whole “in but not of” thing go? … it seems “safer” to me to be “in but not of the world” than to be “in but not of” the “institutional” church…. it seems like in the world it’s more obvious what is “world” so it’s easier to avoid… Am I making any sense at all?

questions, questions... longing for adventure with You

April 6, 2009

I’ve been thinking about that “job possibility” over on Vancouver Island at that Christian School… and I just can’t “go there” again… it just seems to me, after the past four years of “Christian school,” that there is something very inherently wrong in using the “methods of school” in place of the “adventure of Life with YOU – the LIFE!” – and if it’s a wrong approach for “learning/education with a Christian worldview” I bet it’s also wrong for me to do much the same with my “daily devotions” ….

My daughter is urging me to get back to “going to church” and “being an active member.” She didn’t have much of anything to do with it for years, and at the moment she is finding it exciting, and she is “knowing You” in the midst of it… much as I was when I started the “inductive Bible study”… and even as I did with “church” when I first really came to You…

So does that beg the question – is it really “the church system” or “the study system” or the “school system” that is the problem… or is it that at some point I wandered away from the “adventured” and got drawn, dragged, into the “system?” Is it then possible to be “in the system” but “of the adventure” (like “in the world” but “of the heavenly kingdom”…)? I really, really long for relationship with You AND Your family… but if Your family (that I know) are pretty much all hanging out in the system, should I then be “in the system” in order to be with them, and (hopefully) manage to stay connected to You, living the adventure of Life with You?

Okay, this is a serious question I have, but have been scared to ask, because somehow it seems like it might be construed as “heretical”: is it possible to be in relationship with You (Your Life, adventure, reality), while at the same time (at least for a period) pretty much “disconnected” from “the body/ the family?”

And – why is it so hard to find others who are far more interested in Your life, Your way, Your adventure, than in any “system” that supposedly supports it? No wonder people don’t want to leave the system (besides that they’ve been taught that the system is the way to Your life – there can be a difference, can’t there, between “Your way” and “the way to You?”)… anyway, people don’t want to leave the system because they are afraid they’ll be lonely and alone… sure, they’ll have YOU… but they might not have other, human, flesh-and-blood-people to be with. And it does seem that You have made us to need others… that whole “body” metaphor… okay, maybe this is another horrible thing to say… but there seems, to me, to be something incomplete about a head (YOU) and a little finger or whatever (me). Is that a horrible, wicked thing for me to say?

Oh dear, now I’m going to say another horrible thing… if YOU are so incredible (and in my experience, You are), then why do so few people seem attracted to really “following You” like the disciples did? (Well of course there were only 12 disciples, and one of them wasn’t, as it turned out. And while thousands were attracted to the fish-and-loaves perks, most of those eager followers evaporated when You started talking about eating-Your-body and drinking-Your-blood and taking-up-Your-cross… but then You sent Your Spirit, and Your church grew by leaps and bounds… but then there were all kinds of system-loving people wanting to do the Judaistic-rules-and-regs or the Greek “secret-knowledge” or whatever… I guess things don’t change much…

Why is it so easy to lose “first love?”

What if a lot of people who consider themselves Christians – Your followers – really aren’t? What if they’re just following a system? You look on the heart… You know if they’re doing that because that’s what they’ve been taught… so can’t You draw them closer to Yourself? Or?

Does anyone else wonder these things? Do they even matter? Is it just the enemy trying to destract me? (I’m pretty easily distracted by mind games, I’m afraid…)

Okay, so enough already with my questions…

I’m going to Your Word (the NT part!)… and You… to hear what YOU have to say! I’m SO longing for adventure for You…. I’m totally tired of wherever I’ve been lately.