Monday, August 25, 2008

Food for thought

"Life is about passion; the intense and undeniable emotion that fills the body with overwhelming energy and strength. It allows good people to become great people, their passion so contagious that their words and deeds inspire others to follow and rise to do great things." by Windland Smith Rice

(In a recent visit to the Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. I saw this quote in a National Geographic Photography exhibit. Some of the most striking photographs of nature and wildlife I've ever seen were exhibited there. Life is about the creative process and all around us God has provided the canvass and the materials to get in touch with a passion for living.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. did not say, "I have a very good plan." Instead he cried out, 'I have a dream."

As I seek to provide leadership with churches and their leaders, I often find people hungering for a fool proof plan that will take them from step 1 all the way through step 7 in renewing and growing their faith communities. But churches are birthed out of a dream. Jesus had a dream of the Kingdom of God, and he called to disciples to pursue that dream. People are energized by dreams, not so much by plans. What passionate dream do we Christians have to share with people around us?

"Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death." Anais Nin (Cuban-French author)

Quite often church leaders ask about change. You often sense a great ambivalence about the subject. Can't things remain the same? That's a common wish. Deep down we all know that's impossible. It wouldn't even be satisfying in the long run. Remaining the same spells an end to hope and our growth as individuals and as communities. The Spirit of Christ is the "giver and renewer of life" according to one statement of faith that Presbyterians often profess. I like what one politician once said, "The status quo is Latin for the mess we're in..." When you think about it, faith is always about change, and presents us with the courage to deal with the mess we're in.
Or as the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 12, "be transformed by the renewing of your minds."


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