i'm (typically) riddled with discontentment and dissatisfaction. maybe it's the continued lack of sunshine, or maybe just lack of sleep. actually, i think i'm tired of this life...comfortable and "free" as it is. i sort of wish my house would burn down or my identity would be stolen or i would get fired from my job or something that would jolt me out of this stuck-ness. i think i will move to a 3rd world country. that's the ultimate way to serve right? or the inner city? actually, i really just want to take my wife and my dog, sell everything and move to missoula or portland or bend or lander...no asheville...yeah, that's it...asheville. we would start a church, but you won't know its a church, so authentic, broken people will actually want to go there. and we will all just hang out and eat together and play a lot of scrabble. then someone will break out a guitar, you know, like the hippies do when they are camping out alberta, chaining themselves to trees. and we'll sing old, old hymns. you know, the ones that leave a little dusty taste in your mouth when you sing them. we'll forget half the words, but learn them over time, and one day they will sound almost as beautiful as the first time we sang them when we didn't care what we sounded like. then somebody will ask a question God, and we will all get real excited at the thought of it all...the question, the questioner, and God. then we will bust open our good books and pour over them, looking for answers, and more questions, and everything we can possibly find out about Jesus. and when we find something particularly compelling, we will drop everything and just live it out. you know why? because we will have checked our petty agendas at the door. if we find that the answers are not what we hoped they would be, we won't worry, because we will have faith in God. and if someone new comes in and wants to set up a committee to make sure all the work gets done, we will have mercy on him and he will merely find himself at the bottom of a group pile-on, and probably, in all the exhuberance, someone will leave him with a wedgie, and he will learn never to suggest that again. then we will go to sleep so we can get up early the next morning and hike up to a secret little swimming hole that we are convinced God poured there just for us. yeah, i think that sounds nice.
i think crisis is defined as something like a turning point moment. if that is the case, then i must be doing laps around the block...or maybe doughnuts in the parking lot. you know, lots of wasted fuel, but no actual progress. i am sick and tired of never knowing what is true, authentic. we just got back from something called "districts," which is a huge gathering of a couple thousand evangelical youth group kids. i've been to these types of rallies in the past, but never in a behind the scenes role (we were part of the security force). i don't have the energy to analyze every little aspect of it, but i will say that it is amazing how formulaic it all is. i mean, it was exactly like all the other ones i've been to in my life. there was this one point when the keynote was saying how he had a really hard time deciding at which point in the weekend he was going to "share the gospel," and i was like, "ok, dude, you may have thought it over, but you certainly settled on the same point as every other retreat speaker in evangelical history, the 'power night.'" then the kids make their decisions, stand up, and get ushered to the counseling area to have it all explained to them.
without a doubt, this was a crisis moment for these kids. they were faced with a point of decision, and they said, "i want in." and so we welcome them in, and now they are fully accepted members of the group, unless they are too weird, or too ugly, or they smell too bad. no, then they will remain on the margins of all the most Christ-centered youth groups. and what will happen when they go back to school? Lord God, please please please stick with these kids and don't let them be forgotten and tossed aside. don't let them cling to this moment, this experience, this elation and fleeting applause by a crowd of strangers. no Lord, let them cling to you and you alone...and please give them the deepest peace that even though life here will never be perfect, you will love them perfectly and eternally.