Thursday, March 31, 2011

Now the Silence

Now the Silence
At first it’s a daunting task, sitting in the darkness with nothing between yourself and your thoughts.  Like a pin ball game my brain lights up with random thoughts strung together by my fleeting attention to them.  Soon I am overcome by their power and I retreat once again to the comfort of my distractions.  I feed my fear with information, scholarship, worthwhile pursuits, food, friends, television, pets, exercise, programs, sleep…anything… to keep me awake and distracted from the silence.

But like an appointment made with my doctor I would never miss.  So I keep on showing up for the silence knowing that the Doctor has promised the same.  But I feel like I’m sitting in the waiting room, with no hope of fighting my way through the queue.  So I sit and I wait. I sit with the thoughts that consume me and the worries that define me.  And once again I go home overcome and disappointed with myself and with my inability to reach my goal.

Now the silence has become a friend.  This is a friend that allows me to lay my thoughts down like baggage that is too much for this traveler to carry.  And these days I can’t wait to hear what silence has to say.  My friend you have taught me more about myself than a thousand words or a thousand stories could ever tell.  In the depths of this silence I am lost into something more than myself and I can’t figure out what is I and what is other. 

Then silence retreats and I am I again and I am in the world.  And yet the I who I am sees the other that connects all the other “I”s in the world, and I forget the distractions that kept me from the silence in the first place.  I laugh because I realize that I am not alone in this world and that You are waiting to speak with me through every “other” that I encounter.  You were always here.  It was I who was filled with wanderlust.

Now the silence………….

Monday, March 14, 2011


I came across this video while checking out the Fund for Theological Education website ( )  It seems that there are certain buzz words that are tossed around from time to time.  Is this the word of the moment or will it have some sticking power?

At the core of our existence we have these questions of meaning and purpose.  As our culture shifts it is no wonder that this idea of vocation is at the core of our churchy speak.  Christendom is fading into the background, technology is changing our function in daily life, institutions are becoming out of touch with their constituents, and the constituents are becoming in touch with each other (although rarely face-to-face).  Over and over I hear nervous leaders say that the church is becoming irrelevant.  So is vocation another word toted around by churchy folk to stay relevant?

But it strikes me that God was never meant to be an institution.  God was never meant to stay within the four walls of these buildings that we construct with these odd looking spires that reach toward the heavens.  At the core of our existence, God is.  God is not bound by our social constructions.  God is not confined to our financial institutions.  God is not dictated to by any dictator or world leader.  God is not brought down by any technological malfunction.  And yet God is.  All of the walls that we have built up around us could fall down and God still is the ground and source of our being.

As the ground shakes and shifts below us being grounded is ever more important.  Vocation is a word for finding meaning in our lives.  Or more pointedly, finding meaning in our God created lives.  I am all about learning to pay attention to God, but it isn't like a quick fix program you can buy off an infomercial or a sleek church visioning program that will revitalize your congregation.  Living a life with God as the ground and source of your being is different.  It's not a quick fix or the latest craze, it is a way of life.  If I may be so bold as to say, it is a way of life that I'm not sure many of our churches really get.

Deep grounding means learning to let go of some of our more shallow roots.  It means letting some of the walls crumble around us so that we can better understand God's architecture for our lives.  It means being okay with being wrong and being okay with letting that go.  It means learning what it means to listen to God instead of spending our time trying to figure out what to say to God.

Perhaps only when we are honest with ourselves about how things really are can we shed our false selves and be aware of our solid grounding.  There is power in vulnerability.  And yet it is not our own power but a power that comes from God.

So vocation, is it a buzz word?  Perhaps.  But a buzzword that helps God to get in touch with us is always a word worth passing along.