Archive for April, 2005

h1

Rock and Roll Circus

April 29, 2005

Characters:

Josh: the anti-pastor, pastor; barista with an Elementary Education degree

Jamie: the anti-leader, leader; dancer and cowboy with a degree from the world at large

Me: the anti-social introverted leader; barista with a Biblical Literature degree 

[only one person would every recruit these people to start a community of Jesus followers together, and that person is Jesus himself, and with that comes the feeling and the power of total inadequacey]

Last night, after I finished working out at the Y, I headed to the Big Green Monster (Starbucks) for a hot chocolate and some reading.  Reading always helps me re-align whatever is out of whack, or put into perspective the happenings of the day or the rumblings in my soul.  I’m currently reading the  Complete Jewish Bible along with the Jewish New Testament Commentary (I’m reading three other books as well, but this my current Bible of choice).   Anywho, as I was enjoying a peaceful evening alone, having finished nine of my eleven consecutive work days, I got a phone call from Josh.

8:20 pm

Hello Adria Lenore Lambert, what are you doing?

I’m reading at the Big Green Monster by my apartment.

Well, Jamie and I are heading to Jimmy Johns for something to eat and then over to Dan McGuinness Pub to this Rock and Roll Circus we helped set up for after work.  You know Lauren who I work with.  Well, she and her boyfriend are involved and so we went to serve them by helping set up for the show.  It’s a bunch of musical acts interspersed with side shows.  Nichole (that’s my [adria’s] boss) is in it too.  The Panty Raid ladies are one of the side shows.  So we were calling to see if you wanted to meet us there.

In my continuing efforts not to act like I’m older than I really am, I said yes, in spite of being tired and knowing that another day of work lay ahead of me.  So, as Josh and Jamie served earlier by helping set up, I decided to put down the Sermon on the Mount and attempt to go and incarnate what I was reading.  Or, at least go and be where Jesus would go and be. 

We entered into small time Moulin Rouge .  Burlesque girls, a shady (and quite vulgar) ringleader, and gobs of people, drinks in hand were crowded under a tent outside the pub. Eye makeup on both sexes was prevalent and I stood next to Josh, in his skull cap and green Kangaroo tennis shoes, and Jamie, in his red button up shirt with the sleeves cut off and cowboy boots, feeling so normal it was uncomfortable.  As I took in the culture around me and thought about why these people were here and what they were looking for, I knew that what Jesus was saying to me was, "Get comfortable with these people, because I love them.  You, love them. 

Josh and I seemed to have a similar demeanor most of the night, spending most of our time in our heads thinking about our surroundings and where the common ground was.  The question for us was, what do we do with this information and what is our proper response?  How do we best represent Jesus and connect with people in a culture we don’t quite understand, and quite frankly one that is not appealing to us?

Enter the marvel that is Jamie Curry.  Jamie doesn’t think about the things Josh and I think about.  He just acts. That’s who he is.  He’ll talk to anybody and everybody.  That’s how he got a mark put on his wrist that indicated that he was eligible to receive free beer all night.  Jamie doesn’t drink alcohol  at all, but he became friends with the guy that can get if for you for free.  While Josh was being a youth pastor and I was getting a Christian liberal arts education, Jamie was living in the world and of the world, and so he knows how to speak the language of the world, because he has not been civilized by the institutional church.  He has the blessing of being able to not care what anyone else thinks of him, to the best of ends.  He is one of the best examples that has ever been placed before me of Jesus incarnate.  And no, I’m not talking about some sort of flannel graph Jesus that is all sweetness and light.  This is the wild Jesus, with his wild love, going into dark places and shining his light into them. 

Eventually the Rock and Roll Circus took its toll and just became annoying to me.  The music was doing a good number on my ear drums, I couldn’t understand the lyrics and I had to shout to talk to people.  But, I felt that I had walked a little while with Jesus that night.  I had ventured out of my box a bit.  And I get this feeling that as Jesus pushes me again and again to go with him into the places I would never  venture alone, I will begin to not simply observe, but to act, and it will be glorious.

Advertisements
h1

Remember the Sabbath

April 26, 2005

Today I completed my 7th straight day of work.  I only have four more to go before I get a day off.  I have thought about the significance of the Sabbath more than I ever have before, as my body keeps trying to tell that it has been enough.  There is a reason for the madness though.  Last week, as I looked at the upcoming schedule, I noticed that my manager was working all seven days and that two of those days were doubles.  We’re short staffed at work right now, so everyone is putting in extra hours, including me.  I noticed that on one of the days she was working a double, I wasn’t working at all, which is pretty ridiculous, so I somewhat repremanded her for it and said that I was willing to work.  So here I am, rolling through an 11 day stretch of working and it has, for the most part, been a joy.  I think that is because as I thought about offering myself up to work I decided that this was a way in which I could serve her.  As I’m seeking to be the church and to act as Jesus in an incarnational way, I’m understanding that there is a supernatural energy that comes with giving what you don’t think you have, or giving, knowing that it could cramp your style or your routine.  I’m learning to look at perceived interruptions as opportunities to serve, realizing that every opportunity to serve is an opportunity to have a divine encounter. 

None of this means that I won’t enjoy this Sunday when I have the day off.  Indeed, I’m looking forward to it, but I’m not wishing the rest of my week away.  Everyday is full of anticipation as to what creative intersections God will let me encounter.

"May everywhere our feet touch the ground become an intersection between heaven and earth. And may everyone who walks with us feel the primal essence of the universe."

Alex McManus

Coffee_2

Work.                                                                                                            

 

h1

Quantum Changes

April 25, 2005

At the brink of the twenty-first century, the king who knew not Joseph is the collective culture of which we are a part.  The combined impact of the Information Age, postmodern thought, globalization, and racial-ethnic pluralism that has seen the demise of the grand American story also has displaced the historic role the church has played in that story.  As a result, we are seeing the marginalization of the institutional church.

-Mike Regele with Mark Shulz [The Death of the Church: 1995]

marginalized:
excluded or ignored, especially by being relegated to the outer edge of a group or by having the public’s attention diverted elsewhere

I just finished reading a book called ChurchNext: Quantum Changes in How We Do Ministry by Eddie Gibbs (see non-fiction book list to the left).  The book is a group of many offering a prophetic voice to the western church, saying with urgency that change is not simply coming, but it is here.  The church as an institution is, in many places in the western world,not relevant to the people that surround it, making it obsolete.  In places where it has not yet completely lost its grip, its fingers are being pryed up one at a time, rapidly.  A widely held reaction to the church as an institution is simply "who cares".  I admit this is a very postmodern/GenX response, and one that I have held.  Luckily, I’m getting older and thus must back up my "who cares" with something more thought out.  Even though I know that there is so much more behind the postmodern/GenX response of "who cares" concerning the institutional church, part of my responsiblity is to communicate that effectively, where others simply have quit trying to be understood.   It would  be good to note here that this frustration with the institutional church is not limited to those of younger generations, but has come over many who are finding their own religious Christian pursuits more and more empty.

In my own words, and in my own experience, we have two options as the body of Jesus: stay comfortable and die, or go to battle and live.  Here at Mosaic, we are experiencing together what it means, what if feels like, what effort it takes, to be followers of Jesus who are on mission.  I’m tired.  My brain is constatly full and confused.  The future is always uncertain, but we are trying to create it.  I ask "why me" a lot.  I don’t feel like I’m the best one for job.  And these are things I talk about with others that are walking ahead with me.  And they share the same emotions. 

Last night as we gathered together, we talked about moving from doing things religiously to living a life on mission.  In smaller groups we talked about what our own personal movements are.  For example, from mediocrity to character, or from believing to following.  Lindsey’s family was there visiting with us, and as we voiced our journeys and where we were at on those journeys, Lindsey’s mom sat and listened.  And then, she spoke volumes, at least to me. 

I hear you all talking about how things are hard and how you’ve given up dreams.  That you’ve had to die to things in your life and that you aren’t sure what is next.  But in the midst of that you don’t seem anxious or worried.  You even follow up talking about what is hard by saying that it’s okay.  It seems so different because you just have this peace about you in the midst of it all.  [paraphrase]

That was conformation to me that I am where I am supposed to be, beginning to live a life on mission, and more emphatically a life of faith.  This is a life where I don’t have the answers and the path lights up only after I take a step into the unknown.  This must be what it looks and feels like to follow Jesus.  This is where every member of his body must go;  out of the doors of the church building and into the world of "who cares", reclaiming the image of God in each person and in ourselves.  This is only one of the differences between institutional and missional.  We have to get out of the Christian ghetto and follow Jesus, whose way is narrow, into the dark places (sometimes that is within ourselves) and shine light.

What are your thoughts?  Your stories?

Hello, hello
I’m at a place called Vertigo
It’s everything I wish I didn’t know
Except you give me something
I can feel

                                        -U2

h1

This Space

April 21, 2005

I’ve been thinking lately about what to do with this space that I have here on the web. I’ve been lacking in the writing department in my life, which means that I’m probably not thinking through things enough and processing them through the written word, which is how I work best. Mostly, this space has served as entertainment (I think), but not mindless entertainment. So, I think this site may morph soon, into something that documents serious thoughts about what I’m reading, hearing and learning, and how I see that played out in life, and how I choose to live. I noticed that I rarely write about what’s going on with Mosaic here in Nashville, and that the story of those of us here is pretty amazing. I almost have to step out of it for a minute to really see and understand all that God is doing. It is so much bigger than us, than me. My goal, then, is to devote more of this space to exploring the role of followers of Jesus in this world, to the character development of this follower in particular, to the latest discussions on leadership in the Church and to the stirrings of followers and those who are being called to follow all around the world.

Hold me accountable, faithful readers. I want this space to be one of discussion and progress.

Mosaic_trans

h1

Cowboy Up! …or down.

April 21, 2005

Well, it finally happened last Saturday. I found myself in my mid-twenties with the official arrival of my 24th birthday. It was a great weekend. My parents came down for four days, we had a little party, I worked all weekend. One of my birthday gifts from my friend Jamie was a day of riding horses at the farm he works at, guiding people on rides. So we went this past Tuesday. It was great to be out of the city for a bit and to see what surrounds Nashville. It doesn’t take long to find yourself out in the sticks.

Previous to this horse riding experience, I had only been on a horse one other time that I can remember. I’m pretty timid when it comes to animals that are larger than I am. So, with that in mind, Jamie decided that we should walk our horses to the running field for a warm up, and then we should just start running. I’m adventurous, and I trust Jamie, so we were off to the races.

Run Number One:

I got my horse into a trot, which hurts like things that are unmentionable. In order to get out of the trot, I apparently need to kick my horse. In my effort at doing that, and listening to Jamie yell back at me what to do, and holding on for dear life, my feet came out of my stirrups. There would be no getting out of the trot. Eventually I got her stopped. We shortened the stirrups and went for run two.

Run Number Two:

So I got back into the trot. Again, I couldn’t get out of it and was thus in great pain as I was tossed up and down up and down up and down, on top of the saddle. This makes for day after pain in very awkward places. Again, my feet came out of the stirrups and I was forced to wait out the trot. We “fixed” the stirrups again.

Run Number Three:

A general repeat of one and two, except this ride ended with my feet out of the stirrups and my arms giving that horse a great big squeeze hug as I hung on, using her neck to partially break my inevitable fall. And it was a long one, my upper left cheek bearing the brunt of it, followed by a defeated moan from my innermost being.

So what did we do then? Well, after Jamie attempted to wrangle my horse and almost fell off of his in the process, I finally saddled back up and we rode for two more hours. Needless to say I am sore in many many places. And I don’t think I’m quite right in the head for that matter. I’m having a hard time focusing, but I’m sure I’ll be back in the swing of things in no time.

I relayed this story to my mom yesterday and she said, “so, are you going to go do it again?” My response was, “I think I have to.” And I really do. Something about me won’t let that be the end of my experience. The tenacity that I had when I was younger is quieter now than it was then, but it is not gone. I do not go down that easy.

Bruise