04 September 2010

looking for order in chaos

Many people have asked me to start a blog. I've been to lots of interesting places and done lots of interesting things, so it seems natural that lots of interesting thoughts should be going through my head. Somehow, though, I feel inadequate to say anything--even when called upon to speak. I suffer from what a friend detests in her own friends, and which drives her into the throes of classic literature in search of characters who do not have such an acute "lack of ability to express themselves." 

In searching for material for a speaking engagement, I found one thing over and over: stop talking about yourself. Let him who glories, glory in Christ. In Christ alone. 

I read the parable of the prayers in the temple--one through the proud lips of the Pharisee, and the other from the sorrowful, downcast tax collector, crying, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" 

I read HOPE International's blog, where Richard Foster describes our detestable ways of serving ourselves even while we serve others: "Self-righteous service requires external rewards. It needs to know that people see and appreciate the effort. It seeks human applause—with proper religious modesty of course. True service rests in hiddenness. It does not fear the lights and blare of attention, but it does not seek them either. Since it is living out of a new Center of reference, the divine nod of approval is enough."

I read Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove's book, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: "It is very easy to fall in love with the great things...but we must never simply fall in love with our vision or five-year-plan. We must never fall in love with "the revolution" or "the movement." We can easliy become so genuinely driven by our vision for church growth, community or social justice, that we forget the little things, like caring for those around us."

Several days ago, as I lay in bed praying, a tune abruptly came to my head. "Be Thou My Vision." I haven't heard it for a long time, but the words learned in childhood flooded my mind "...naught be all else to me, save that Thou art! Thou my best thought, by day or by night..." It hit me. My vision, what I want to do with business as missions and where I will end up--a question of utmost importance in my mind, is worthless. I cannot look to my vision, I must look to CHRIST. CHRIST, be the center of my life, be the place I fix my eyes, be MY VISION! 

Earlier in the the aforementioned book, I happened on the moniker for this blog: 
"...community can be built around a common self-righteousness or a 
common brokenness. Both are magnetic and contagious."

It's my sincere prayer that whatever I write here, would not come from a place of superiority. I'm not out to save the world. I'm not the answer. I am broken. But, that's okay, because the kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit. In the words of J.R. Miller,

"Christ is building His kingdom with earth's broken things. Men want only the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unbroken, in building their kingdoms; but God is the God of the unsuccessful, of those who have failed. Heaven is filling with earth's broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty." 

I'll close with one more borrowed thought, this time from Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:27-31: "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." "