Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Because Change Happens

Six months ago I was a regular pastor, in a regular United Methodist Church, with a regular mid-life routine. It kept me busy. I knew what I was doing. I was good at it (most of the time. anyway!). I listened to CDs on my 5-disk changer; I watched Tivo-ed shows at my leisure; I kept my calendar on my Palm; I emailed, voice messaged, and I felt modern. Not any more.

Now, I am anything but a regular pastor. As a new church planter now, I have no church building (though that is everybody's first question), no official members to care for, and a schedule that changes daily. I am still busy, but I'm less and less sure of what I am doing. I now listen to music on an iPod, watch episodes of favorite shows on-line or You Tube, keep my calendar, contacts, tasks, photos, and more on my iTouch, have just learned to communicate via facebook and blogging, and I although I feel even more modern, I hardly feel proficient at anything anymore. All of this in six months or less.

It happens.

How do you handle it? Do you resist it, fight it, deny it, stress over it? Do you try to embrace it, only to discover there are a thousand more questions you didn't know that you didn't know? Can you live with the risk of being the naïve learner, the dependent colleague, or the incompetent beginner again? Are you patient with yourself, and willing to forgive your mistakes? Until things are routine again, are you OK with who you are and where you are right now?

These questions are part of the reason I need God. I need God because change happens, and it is happening faster than ever. I know how God helps me through change, and I'd be happy to share that, but this blog is already too long, so let's just leave you with something to reflect upon: how does your spirituality help you with change? If it doesn't, how in the world are you coping?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Woohoo! Here we go!

Do you remember what it feels like to stretch yourself out beyond your limits, beyond the places you've never dared or were able to go before?

I remember the story of one of our best friends taking her 10 year old son on a bike ride along a converted railroad line. Prior to this ride they always, and I mean always, stopped at the bridge, turned around and went back home. But this day was different. This day Peter was ready to cross the bridge to the pathways that stretched out to places beyond. Having his mom on the bike next to him made things safe and better. For our friend, crossing the bridge and riding the trail beyond was no big deal, an ordinary experience. Imagine her startled reaction upon pedaling across the bridge that day, when quite unexpectedly her son let out a wild "Woohoo!" and punched the air! He had just moved into an entirely new world and could not hold back his cheering!

I feel a lot like that right now. For most (all?) of you, you have been down this path of blogging before. You know your way around the sites and have seen this landscape a thousand times. But for me ... Woohoo! Here we go! This is something totally new for me. What do I say? What do I do next? Is this really something that people potentially around the world could see? What kind of communications will this open up for me? It is thrilling and yet intimidating. Thanks, Michelle, for being there next to me and accompanying me on this blogging ride! When is it time to turn around and head for home again? After posting this first entry, I will have stretched beyond my limits to new personal frontiers. My heart is pounding!

Spiritual journeys often feel the same way. Although I have been down those paths a thousand times, I must remember that another's spiritual ride often stops and always turns around at a certain point and heads home. How about you? Would you like to get your spiritual heart pounding again? Maybe it's time to cross the bridge. There's a lot more world ahead to experience. Maybe it's time to stretch out beyond your self imposed limits. I'd be happy to ride along beside you, if you'd like. And if you feel like letting out a "Woohoo!" of your own along the way, I will understand, for breaking through and discovering a whole new world of God is worth cheering!

So, let the cheering begin! Here we go............