March 3, 2003, 7:20 am
Filed under: uncategorized

In various conversations I’ve had with people over the past year or so, there’s been a general sense of agreement that at some point or another on this emerging church journey, all of us have gone through or will go through what I refer to as the “angry young man” phase (AYM) – a phase which is not necessarily limited to overt anger, youthfulness, or gender, but hey, I have to call it something. Some are a bit more skillful at negotiating it well than others, some will randomly go off half-cocked, and some nearly implode under the pressure of passive aggressive approaches to AYM-ness. Honestly, I’ve done all three at one point or another – I hope to be learning enough to default toward the more mature ways.

Last night I came home from church frustrated by having sat through another meeting where I felt like a waste of space – I didn’t have anything of value to contribute to those who were there, and the meeting topics as well as the discussions of them were certainly nothing I could relate to. Sure, I could have thrown my two cents in here and there, but I was afraid that I was in one of those AYM moments and I really didn’t want to hurt anyone. Whether fortunately or unfortunately from her perspective, my wife is usually the one to help me through these moments, and she came through like a champ once again.

But here’s what I came up with: When I’m right there on the edge, wrestling with things, I don’t want to actually cross the AYM line, but most of the time I want to dance right up next to it. I don’t want to hurt anyone by saying stupid things out of a bad attitude. I also don’t want to self-marginalize by saying good things out of a bad attitude. But reality for me says that I do some of my better thinking when I’m on the line.

I’m coming to believe that there’s only a subtle distinction between being a rebel and being a revolutionary. They both have their AYM moments, but revolutionaries use those times in a catlytic way, whereas rebels become destructive. I want to be revolutionary in my approach to life. I am all too aware of my own demands for comfort and safety, but I also know that I feel like I’ve come alive the most when I do something that is dangerous. I’ve spent far too much time in risk management mode – having to control as many factors as possible in order to have the desired outcomes. The trick for me is knowing how to achieve that sense of tension that takes me up to the line without artificially creating excuses for being a foolish rebel.

Trusting God means doing things in faith, mostly without knowing what factors are in need of controlling. One of my favorite writers, Larry Crabb, once wrote something like this: “Finding God in this life does not mean building a house in a land with no storms. It’s building a house that no storm can destroy.”


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