From the Pastor February 2015

February 2015 newsletter

Two months ago: Satchel and I were watching videos of people dancing on YouTube.  Before long, we found a video of people breakdancing.  Her eyes lit up and she asked, “Daddy, can you teach me how to do that!”  My first response was, “Good Lord, no, I can’t do that!”


Three weeks later: I was at my first breakdancing class, standing in a room with a dozen other people, all of them much younger than I.  The website said it was Breakdancing I, no experience necessary, but it was clear from the moment the guy next to me started walking on his hands that most, if not all, of the other people there had experience, and lots of it.  We got in a circle, the music started, and I realized I was in over my head.


Now, I know in the world of the church I, at 38, am a spring chicken, but in the world of breakdancing, I’m old.  Nobody else in the class is even 30, except for our teacher, who might be in his early 30s.  Breakdancing would be hard enough to learn at 18, harder still at 28.  At 38?  It seemed impossible.


It seemed impossible.  But it isn’t impossible.  It’s incredibly hard, it’s physically and mentally taxing, but it’s not impossible.  Little by little, I get better.  I’m not as good as the guy who can walk on his hands and spin on his head, and I probably never will be, but I’m better than I used to be, and I can do things I thought were impossible just three weeks ago, and I teach Satchel the little bit that I know.


My point is: trying new things is hard and uncomfortable, and when we first start out, the new thing we are trying can seem impossible, but discomfort is not a sign that we should stop, it’s a sign that we’re growing.  Right now, my shoulders and legs are sore, but they’re stronger than they used to be, and if I do a little more work today, they’ll be stronger still, and eventually the soreness will go away.


Church should not always be comfortable, at times it needs to be challenging.  Too often, the church makes the mistake of thinking it has to be only nice and pleasant and coffee and cookies.  Coffee and cookies are nice, but if that’s all the church is about, it will not thrive nor live into God’s call.  


The Gospel is challenging, and the challenge makes it compelling, people who don’t go to church still look at the gospel stories and get wide-eyed with wonder.  They want to learn more.  They look around and say, “Can anybody teach me how to do that?”  Too often the church says “Good Lord, no, we can’t do that!  That’s impossible!”  So the people don’t come to church.  

Are we open to wide-eyed wonder?  Do we let it challenge us?  Do we take risks, feel sore but get stronger, do things we thought we’re beyond our abilities, and share what we’ve learned with others?

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