Renewed dedication to… something…

It seems like daily I am trying to refocus, reorient myself, and rededicate my time to doing something worthwhile and meaningful. I should probably add that this happens daily because by the end of the day, I have begun to lose it. So, I am trying a new strategy… refocusing the night before… and then moving it earlier and earlier so that I focused all the time. Yah right.

I just realized, after stumbling across the Greg Boyd’s brilliant blog,  that I really could do a better job applying myself to my writing. Now, I will never claim to be as talented, or as humorous, as my one time professor and much later time hero, Greg, but copying and pasting other blog entries is simply a way to fill space. I just so turns out that I have a LOT of time… not because I want it, per se, but  more or less because there just isn’t anything else going for me right now. With a quiet and empty house, no dog, no girlfriend, friends in school or busy, and the birds going to bed earlier and earlier (not that big of an issue ;)), I just can’t find enough to do. I know it won’t always be this way.

I also came to realize to day that my conversation ability is strangely lacking, in the sense that when it comes down to getting my point across, I am really not very good at it. More confusing than anything else… so in that sense people are perhaps better off before I started talking than after. Most people tend to get a glazed look in their eyes before I get half-way through what I want to say. To further, jab the knife in, one of the guys in our Sunday night group kept dozing off… only when I was saying something. Alas, perhaps God has made me a better listener than talker. That’s not all bad. Point, Nate, point… basically, I imagine that writing and getting this out in a line may help in putting thoughts together into coherent sentences. Hopefully…

So here’s to rededications.  Onward!


Connecting the connections

I had a conversation with a woman at the bank today, leaving me feeling like we are doing the right thing with this community growth. I am amazed that this particular teller is so good at remembering conversations that we have had over the last few months. I have told her about this new community that we are seeking to grow and mentioned our gathering on Sunday nights. She warmly and politely told me in a past conversation that church is not something that she is particularly interested in. But she wished me well. So today, she asked how things were going.

Very well, I told her. Connections were happening and we are beginning to see what this community might be about. I told her it is difficult to think of it as church because it is so different than how I, and many others, have seen church in the past. It is so decentralized and not so focused on getting people in the door. She mentioned that she had heard about some other new churches that were starting up and seemed to have some good advertising. I mentioned my friendship with those pastors but made the distinction that we really are doing something quite different.

We don’t want to get anyone anywhere. Our hope is to meet people where they are at and connect with them through relationships, groups, and other means. Our Sunday gathering is really for those who feel a desire to study the Bible, pray, and go deeper. We hope to join people with what they are already doing. In this sense, we can be connected all over the place and not specifically with one place.

It really looks like this:

network-set.jpgI guess in all actuality it still looks kind of different than that… as perhaps there is no real center that we intend to gravitate people towards. There is the Spirit running through things… the Spirit of God… and I would affirm that God is doing things in many different places as the kingdom is realized on this Earth. It is our hope to find where that is and add fertilizer to that growth. We want to meet people where they are at and give them the opportunity and option to go as deep as they want to go.

If you have heard of the relational set (or some would say “fuzzy” set) – versus the closed or bounded sets – this will be familiar to you. I feel as though what we are doing is epitomizing the relational set.

I didn’t tell my particular bank teller about these sets, or get nearly as into the details as I have here, but as I told her, there was something in her eyes that said, “This is different.” We parted with her confirmation that she indeed would be thinking about this different way of engaging with people. A connection made.

I am up… and I am down

So often, I really wish I was an introvert and not an extrovert. Mostly when I am alone. Now, I know this sounds kinda crazy to some who are introverts and really want to be able to be more extraverted. When I am alone, though, so often I wish that I was more okay with it.

howling-timber-wolf.jpgIt’s strange… this position that I have with the Presbyterian church… it’s so entirely relational and it really is a dream come true. To have accepted the responsibility of connecting people to each other, to groups, and to the Spirit of God is all I have ever wanted to do. It is also nice that I don’t have to mark my successes in a traditional sense – that is, by having bodies in the pew or money being given. On a personal level, it seems that I mark my successes by the number of conversations and connections that I have on a given week. This leads to certain problems.

Mainly, when I am sitting alone in a quiet house at night and I am tired of reading, the birds have gone to sleep, and I can’t think of anything to do… I get really low. Last night, I actually contemplated starting up tying flies again. Then I remembered that I haven’t fly fished in forever.  It is during these times of not being okay with being alone that I realize I have a long way to go.

Life is relational. With self, God, and others. I tend to think that ultimately what it comes down to is how we encounter others and the presence that we give to them. This I can do… this I love. But that only comes from a foundation of understanding of self and an understanding of being in the presence of the Divine. When this is in shambles, no measure of relationship with others is going to amount to much. It is merely an attempt at establishing worth and filling my ego. This is where I am missing out. My foundation is weak. My worth is too often founded in the wrong places.