Working for "The Man"
August 23, 2007, 4:21 pm
Filed under: Christendom, denomination

Today was my first day back in the saddle with my local ministry context after over a week spent in meetings in denominational environments. In my last post, I mentioned a quick trip to Atlanta. For the past few days I was in some regional denominational meetings in the Portland, OR area. By the time my car rolled into my driveway late yesterday afternoon, I was definitely ready to be home, and back in my element. Over the past several days, I’ve spent some good time with some really terrific people – some of whom I would count as close friends. But being in the buildings, and seeing the kinds of money and mentality that “we” employ in the name of our organizational mission and purposes can be really frustrating. At one point yesterday I found myself quite agitated and angry.

I don’t need to get into a gripe session here, but let’s just say that I have some very serious questions/doubts/concerns about my tribe. Anyone who knows me knows that this is nothing new, but believe it or not, there are times when I flirt with optimism, thinking that we might just be able to reform ourselves some day to get farther away from religion and power and security, and closer to the dangerous, prophetic ways of the Kingdom of heaven. Yesterday, I flirted with darker thoughts – things will never change, and I’m wasting my time and efforts in trying to prop up a system that’s doomed.

Fortunately, I was reminded that one of the strengths of my denomination is that it gives people like me a lot of latitude and freedom to chuck all of the political b.s. and stay on track with the things I know I’m called to do. And when I stay in rhythm with that stuff, the other rubbish is only as annoying as I allow it to be. I know that the likelihood of bringing about any significant change in systems is remote (at best), but I also know that that’s not what I’m supposed to do here. I know why I’m here, and I’m going to go after it – if my denomination wants to support that and sign a paycheck for it, that’s great. If not, that’s fine, too – I’ll still do what I’m supposed to do.

I have a greater distaste for religion today than I did a week ago. And that’s a good thing. I hope I have a greater distaste for religion next week than I do now.


2 Comments so far
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so weird, Steve…
I had a similar experience in my denom this past week. Seems like something inescapable for the current time, but I’m willing to let myself be paid to seek God in our context.

Comment by Petey


I kind of understand the struggles your talking about and the challenges in our denom. I look at the lack of sacrificing being done by the higher up levels.

Yet, I have to look at my own life and wonder if the same could be said for me. Would that be the thought Paul would have about the way I conduct ministry? Would he feel that way about the church I attend?

This hits home with Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians:

“Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

2 Cor. 11:23-30 (ESV)

Comment by Morgan Owen

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