Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hey, Babe: Take a Walk on the Quiet Side

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog called "Oh to be Ignorant", where I shared my desire to step back from the painting, stop staring at the brush strokes, and take in the whole "picture" of God. I wanted to share what has happened since, to let you know where that blog has taken me, and the uncertainty of where I'm going.

(If you haven't read "Oh to be Ignorant", please take a moment to read it before going on - it will help you understand what follows.)

My wife described what I've been feeling as "burn out". I think she's right. I'm not burned out on God, though. I’m burned out on the brush strokes - the driveway. To misquote Festus to Paul, "Much learning is driving you mad!" (Acts 26:24b NKJV) This is not something new. One of the symptoms of my burn out has been the complete emptiness I've been experiencing sitting through sermons over the last several months. Yes, I said "several". This is not new to me. Again, the sermons have been of high caliber - perhaps too high.

Last week everything came to a head. When we woke up Sunday morning, I told my wife that I just wanted to skip church. She said we should go - since it was a guest minister. I told her I "knew" what he was going to preach on (it was announced the previous Sunday), and I didn't want to go. We went anyway. After the service she said to me, "Halfway through I realized you were right." As a husband, I find those words don't come very often!!

The topic was "Healing Generational Issues". He pulled passages from Lamentations, Exodus, and Jeremiah (all Old Testament) to show where generational curses (sins of the fathers being passed down to the sons) is both acknowledged and contradicted. He then went on to show how the paradox (his word - used incorrectly I might add) can be reconciled. At one point I pulled up John 9:1-3 (New Testament) on my tablet and showed it to my wife. The passage is a discussion between Jesus and His disciples right after He heals a blind man. They ask him "who sinned? He or his parents?" Jesus replies "Neither!" Which, to me, totally wipes out this guy's total sermon. Also, not only does the passage contradict his entire sermon, there is no instance - that I've seen - where Jesus breaks a generational "curse".

He also brought up the "value" of praying in "The name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth Who came in the flesh". In other words, praying in the name of Jesus was not sufficient for this type of prayer. I concluded that this guy was a moron. So much for the value of a minister who has the title "Dr." in front of his name. Besides, I heard this kind of "preaching" back in the 1990s. We were right back to the Name-it-Claim-it-You-can-have-what-you-say-Positive-Speaking baloney that was so prevalent back then.

I spent the rest of the sermon catching up my journal - trying to ignore the blather.

During breakfast (a common thing for my wife and I to do after church) we had the discussion that culminated in a decision. A decision that some of my church friends may not agree with. I decided that I needed to take a break from church. Not God. Church. We call it taking a "sabbatical". I'm not church hopping. At this point I have no expectation of permanently leaving the church I attend. I just have no intention of attending ANY church. I will miss worshipping God in church - since I have NO qualms concerning the praising of God. I just can't go from worship-to-the-offering-to-the-car in good conscience.

I needed to tell someone at the church my decision. I didn't want to be one of those people that you suddenly realized disappeared - you know the ones, where you really can't remember the last time you saw them. And since I've been a member of the worship team for a long time, it was prudent that I told someone in leadership. I contacted the person who has led the worship team, the person I've been able to share concerns with over the years, and met him for dinner. He said that he understood my decision, said we needed to keep in communication (a.k.a. "accountability"), and that he would let the rest of the church staff know.

After dinner we went to the church - he went to make sure it was unlocked. I wanted to remove all of my equipment. There are too many idle hands that mess with things that aren't theirs. I packed up my Jeep, turned off the lights in the sanctuary (with a quick prayer) and went home.

And it's done. How long will this sabbatical last? I have no idea. I know that I'm going to do my best to step back and get as far away from the brush strokes as I can.

If anyone asks, tell them I'm taking a walk on the quiet side.

© Emittravel 2014

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