Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Gift of Poverty

The gift of my family's poverty is that I am discovering what really matters. And, for the most part, what matters isn't stuff. I don't miss buying clothes or eating out very much. I do miss going out on dates with my husband and traveling. I've discovered that experiences and relationships are what really matter to me.

In a similar way, the poverty of soul I experienced while in the institutional church was a poverty of meaningful experiences and authentic, intimate relationships.

I was surrounded by church-stuff: programs, big buildings, professional staff... and in their midst I wandered around lost, trying to articulate my grief. I didn't need a program. I didn't need a small group or outreach event. I didn't need praise choruses, self-help sermons or free coffee and donuts. I needed to experience God.

I eventually did find God, but it was outside of church....

jesus outside the box has some great things to say
in response to her reading of Affluenza.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"All that to say... is it possible that the church, with all it's good intentions, is "taken up by maintaining and caring for things instead of people"? If "everything I own owns me," is the institutional church owned (controlled) by its programs, building and stuff, rather than the other way around? Is it possible that the institutional church is sick and doesn't even realize it?"

Totally agree, not only in the more bible teaching type church, but also in the core leadership.

Amazing timing here...I was just writing a difficult letter to a friend who is CONSUMED with his projects, all good stuff, but I barely know him anymore. He will go out of sight for months at a time. I look at his blog and all the "stuff" he produces and I say to myself, "Great, but isn't what you are trying to communicate is that people matter and relationships?" All of his stuff is based on stories of family, telling your story, finding your past genealogy, and getting involved with the poor and less advantaged. Again, all good stuff, but at what cost?

It seems a question of balance again. If you spend a lot of time on relationships there is a loss of productivity or forward movement. If you spend time and energy on programs—evangelism, bible training, missions, you can look great on paper, but be devoid of any real relational depth internally.

It all goes back to vision of those at the top and how they will lead their flock. BUT, you also can’t impart what you don’t possess. If those at the top are not seeking relational depth, they will NEVER allow the flock to develop in this way. In fact, many IMExperience are dead set against this notion. That’s why someone like Larry Crabb is so controversial to them. He scares them to death and they attack will all guns loaded.