Ask the Question

While out walking in the early part of the morning, the light still soft, and the air without any oppressive humidity my girl reminds me we all want to be known by asking the question: “What happens if you don’t ask the question, will she know you care?

Defensively, I reply that she knows.
But it has me wondering.
5. 2014 Ask the Question - AccraIs there something wrong with me that I often don’t think to ask the question lying in the space between us?
Maybe she knew; but what about the others who don’t know, who struggle to feel heard? What about people I do not ask because I don’t want to embarrass them?
Or worse yet …I don’t ask because I feel I already know their story, having jumped to some limited two dimensional conclusion in my head?

Loneliness and the fear of being an “outsider” is one of humankind’s deepest fears and  a condition of the Fall. When I don’t reach out or neglect to ask, do I convey a disinterest that contributes to the lie that they are not worth knowing?
I say I value the people I encounter on my journey and their struggles and successes, I care about their choices and yet, if I do not reach out and communicate that with them then I am not sure I am conveying my love and interest.

Intersecting lives are a gift, puzzle pieces in our Father’s master plan….
A place of to know comfort and to experience Hope.
We all long to be known.
I long to be known.

I think she was right, I should take the risk more often and ask the questions!

 

How do continual mobility and Church fit together?

These musings have drifted across my mind over the last few weeks. Maybe it’s the reading that I’ve been doing (books that I have had a long time but for some reason never read until now). Maybe it’s because I have been working with a team on the idea of what to value in terms of spiritual formation. But all of this has had me mulling over these matters….
Traditional church believes people need a system to grow spiritually and function together as a community and a cause.
But what about those of us who don’t fit into a box?Those who work unpredictable shifts, those who move a great deal, who nurse an ill spouse and cannot participate in organized churches. What about my Third Culture Kids who aren’t anywhere long enough to call a church “home”. What does this premise say about us? How are we to operate? How can we experience transformational Life?
And how does it relate to what scripture teaches?
Which is that: all believers are equally equipped with the necessary spiritual resources for knowing God and ministering to others.
If I believe that He is living His life in and through me as part of the body of Christ, His church, wherever I am and with whoever I come across each day then surely I am part of His Life and have a purpose whether I belong to a formal group of believers or not?
Said another way:
·         All of us have an equal “calling” to know God and He allows us to grow and be transformed by the power of His Love in many different ways.
·         We are also equally called to make Him known within our ordinary lives and amidst the people we connect with each day. Furthermore, because I believe that I am a unique, personal conduit of His life in this world and that I was born to live supernaturally doing His work by His power, this is something I can expect, as I depend on His Spirit.
What does all this mean for me?·        I sense I am joining a group of believers who are not part of organized church and that don’t believe they need to be in order to grow spiritually and function according to their calling.

·         I believe am being called to participate in a way of being the church that is transportable, not restricted to a location or a particular group of people.
·         I see this as an ‘intentional’ process and know that in many ways it will require a new focus and an ongoing willingness to be ‘present’ in all situations to my Father’s voice.
·        This excites my heart and offers me hope in my current stage of life.
I am not trying to say that I have a new way of doing Life that is “right” or should replace organized church. But I am sharing a bit of where Father is taking me in this season. Perhaps it will offer hope to those of you who (for whatever reason) are struggling with being part of an organised church. I think there are some of us out there who are not called to “belong” to one group and who have the privilege of carrying His love and His hope into the world in a different way and that this can be as exciting, meaningful and transforming as participating in traditional structures.
“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”
Galatians 5:25 (NLT)

How do I belong to a Transportable Community ?

I have always loved doing life with friends over a coffee or lunch. I love the way hearts connect as we share our stories, frustrations, hopes and as we talk about our journey’s and our faith struggles. There is usually laugher (and in my case, tears). It’s been one of the greatest privileges of my life that I have been afforded many such moments.

I have always loved doing life with friends over a coffee or lunch. I love the way hearts connect as we share our stories, frustrations, hopes and as we talk about our journey’s and our faith struggles. There is usually laugher (and in my case, tears). It’s been one of the greatest privileges of my life that I have been afforded many such moments.

Traveling and moving, however, makes these intimate moments harder to find. A sense of alone-ness can be a problem as one struggles to connect and experience community in new places and in temporary locations. Feelings of isolation are, I think, one of Satan’s greatest weapons.

I have watched my ‘mobile’ children grapple for years with the issue of “belonging” – asking themselves “which community is mine?, “where do I fit in?”. I know that these same questions still run deep in my life too. My family knows that even recently I have made poor choices because of my need to “fit in” and desire “to be included”.

Recently I sat with a relocated friend and watched the pain in her eyes and the struggle for composure as she allowed me just a glimpse of the sense of dislocation she currently feels. It requires work to find friends, to join in with a group and to start to share a common experience even if it’s what our hearts long for. After-all, we were created relational beings.
Because of my faith I know that the greatest relationship that I have is with God through Jesus Christ. Accordingly, I know I am never going to be alone because I am forever “included” in His family. Yet sometimes it’s people with skin on that I want to share life with.
I know that the way I was created I am energized by the spiritual “shot” of time with friends, of experiencing Life in community – I see His Spirit working in me through my relationships. I value all my individual friendships and wonder how God will develop them in the future.
But it’s the need for community I am wondering about here. How do I achieve that when I am on the move?
Because I know, there have been times in my life where I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had several friends encouraging me, praying for me and cheering for me: my community of witnesses (Hebrews 12: 1-2). We drew strength for the journey from each other.
The challenge for me now is to find that community in a “transportable way”. It’s a paradigm shift and one I am finding uncomfortable as I struggle to find meaning in my current way of living.
We all need community. 
 
My encouragement to all of you is to join me in looking for ways to include others in the journey, finding ways to extend and build your crowd of witnesses – because we need those who will run this race with us and who will support us to be all we were created for!