Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Journey Begins
Why did I name this blog "For What Its Worth"? I am definitely a product of the 60's - the civil unrest, the social consciousness, the anti-establishment ethos of a culture that really did want to believe, as the Beatle anthem announced, "All You Need Is Love!" The song "For What Its Worth" was one of those tunes that defined the 60's for me. Released by Buffalo Springfield and written by Steven Stills, the song opens with haunting words: "There's something happening here...what it is ain't exactly clear"... and echoes with the refrain: "You better stop, children, what's that sound? Everybody look, what's going down?"
I think that this song resonates with the struggles and questions of the postmodern world! It certainly resonates with my own experience - especially in the world of the church and its politics. Here I am, 55 years old, with more questions than answers. And perhaps the greatest gift the church has ever given to me is the one I received this year - time to stop... to listen... to look... to take note of what's going down. I am now on a "sabbatical" from traditional local church ministry, and during these months I have had time to stop and listen and reflect on so much. I have also been given another great gift... the opportunity to dialogue with other pastors who have gone through brokenness and pain in the church (I think I have become a "safe" place for pastors at risk to unload), and their stories continue to affirm what I am finding on my journey - that even in the midst of misunderstanding, disappointment, disillusionment, and especially discouragement, God still speaks... God still cares... and God still has a place for all of us.
So I begin the journey of posting the reflections, the probings, the questions, the frustrations and irritations of one who has been forced to stop and rethink what life and ministry is all about! My posts may, from time to time, border on the ridiculous to the sublime. They are likely to generate mixed reviews from colleagues and onlookers - and that could be risky - especially if anyone who has "power" in the church to which I belong happens to lurk... But one of the gifts that I was also given by the church when they invited me to leave is the end of my traditional church career -and the launching of a new one. There is a powerful freedom in knowing who owns you and claims you - and that is not the institutional church... but the Lord of the Church. So I look forward to posting my thoughts and reflections on this blog... as a way to navigate this storm-tossed sea called "life" in a world where "something is happening here, and what it is ain't exactly clear." That is why I name this blog site "For What It's Worth"
I had considered using the following phrase for my URL address for this blog: all loves excelling. This is the first line from Charles Wesley's wonderful hymn, Love Divine... and it testifies to me and for me of the greatest reality in my life - the amazing, incredible, incomparable love of God in Jesus Christ - love that continues to embrace me, transform me, and energize me to give my life away to others, as Christ so freely gave his life for me.
So even though my life is being re-defined and my ministry is now finding its location outside the traditonal local church setting, I am still amazed and over-whelmed by God's love. This all-excelling love is the heart of my preaching, teaching, serving, working, parenting (and grand-parenting), husbanding, dancing, and being-in-relationship with others. For me, the very essence of the life of holiness (the way of Jesus) is love. I am so grateful for the faithfulness of God, for the friendships that I have enjoyed on this journey, and for the family that continues to be the source of greatest blessing and joy in my life... to God, to friends, and to my family, I offer these posts in love. This is my blog... for what it's worth.
Soli Deo gloria.