Sunday, February 20, 2005

Some Randon Thoughts that Are Bound to Get Me in Trouble

1. Ecclesiology. What is your vocation? I preached a sermon on “Who is your boss? and What is your job description?” a few months back. I have always taken a very simple view of this question. My boss is Jesus, and my vocation is making disciples. Everything I do, I pray, is done under the banner of making disciples. I may not be so great at it, but it is my calling as a Christian. Not becuase I am a pastor but just because I am a Christian. My vocation, my title, is disciple-maker. The church is the place I make disciples. Leadership’s job is to design processes which effectively make disciples.
I have never seen my calling on earth any different than under the banner of this mission. (In reality, I think the mission is bigger than making disciples. I think the mission is creating Morally Beautiful Community in the church. But for now let’s limit that to making disciples.)

When I meet people, when I work, when I write music, when I play with my kids, it all is aimed at one supreme purpose. All of life has only one sphere. We have no other calling. If I am a Christian and a business man, I do not think a person can be in any ultimate way called to be a businessman. He or she is called to make disciples and maybe he or she makes money by providing some value to the market in order to participate in the mission of the church to make disciples.

One calling and retirement.
Let’s say, I think I am called to be a bricklayer or an architect. When I am too old and can no longer build buildings do I retire? My calling is fulfilled? My calling was to build a business, make money for my family and now I am retired. No way!! No way!! No way!! Is it possible that this type of thinking is the fruit of an improper identification of our calling? We are called to make disciples and now that you have finished making buildings, you can dedicate all you learned about buildings to help the church make disciples and build disciple-making processes. There is no retirement in the kingdom. I understand there is certainly a point where we do only a little, but to the end we give our two mites. For we are all called to one supreme purpose and that is to make disciples.

I personally make "stuff" for a living. I love the challenge of thinking of new processes and of learning about people and the nature of organization and management but could any person say they are called to build "stuff". I value very highly the values that I can instill in the company I work for. If I can support people as a value or safety as a people value in the culture of the company I work for then great. Or if I can do my job well and glorify God in so doing great. BUT I am not ultimately called to make "stuff". I am a Christian and my ultimate calling is to make disciples. Everything I do in the world is a proximate purpose that is submitted to the ultimate purpose of making disciples. If the proximate calling ends, the ultimate calling remains.

So has a low and limited ecclesiology taught people that they have a calling other than disciple-making. This is an honest question directed at the gang. Is it right to define our calling as in terms of how they support their family financially and this idea is just foreign to me. Is it not our role in the body, the disciple-making community, that is our "gifts and calling"?

2. An Epiphany about being Incarnational: OK so I was getting ready for church this morning and I was singing “Living For the City” by Stevie Wonder. I though to myself. Man, my kids need to start listening to Stevie.

Living for the City
A boy is born in hard time Mississippi
Surrounded by four walls that ain't so pretty
His parents give him love and affection
To keep him strong moving in the right direction
Living just enough, just enough for the ha!
His father works some days for fourteen hours
And you can bet he barely makes a dollar
His mother goes to scrub the floors for many
And you'd best believe she hardly gets a penny
Living just enough, just enough for the city... yeah!
His sister's black but she is sho'nuff pretty
Her skirt is short but Lord her legs are sturdy
To walk to school she's got to get up early
Her clothes are old but never are they dirty
Living just enough, just enough for the hum
Her brother's smart he's got more sense than many
His patience's long but soon he won't have any
To find a job is like a haystack needle
Cause where he lives they don't use colored people
Living just enough, just enough for the city...
Living just enough...For the city... ooh, ooh
(Repeat several times)
His hair is long, his feet are hard and gritty
He spends his life walking the streets of New York City
He's almost dead from breathing in air pollution
He tried to vote but to him there's no solution
Living just enough, just enough for the city...yeah, yeah, yeah!
I hope you hear inside my voice of sorrow
And that it motivates you to make a better tomorrow
This place is cruel no where could be much colder
If we don't change the world will soon be over
Living just enough, stop giving just enough for the city

I just love the horn breaks and the lyrics are just IT. So then I thought “Oh my, people who were raised in the church desire their kids to learn the hymns just as much as I want my kids to learn to love Stevie Wonder. So I think I am gonna call up an organist to integrate the Hymns a bit more.

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