Pastoral Backstory 08.15.13

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(What is this and why?)

 

August 15th, 2013

All solemnity and no fun could make Pastoral Backstory a real drag.  So to amplify what we learned last week (or at least tried to) let’s start with something brilliantly funny yet perfectly relevant.

To say The Onion is a satirical website would be like saying Dallas is hot in August.  Their writers master the art of biting wit–though, caveat emptor, they can be as ribald as they are incisive in what they lampoon.  But this little clip about how best to fight anxiety came across my desk last week.  I’ll let you just try to keep the chuckles in when you hear the mock clinical study share its results.

All kidding aside, David Powlison (HT: Justin Taylor) provides some welcome concrete guidance for facing fear that distracts and depletes.  I hope you’ll hear some resonances between what I thought Jesus taught us about fear in His greatest tangle with it.  One thing I didn’t have time to develop was the idea that, like pain, fear evidences something worth not just rooting out but also identifying the source of.  Crucial to the treatment is uncovering the cause.  Powlison develops that idea for me and then charts a path to answering our fear.  The idea sounds so obvious, until we realize how infrequently we trace other inner maladies to underlying fears.

We most certainly did develop the place of praying in displacing fear.  The folks over at Mockingbird offer a response to a New York Times article about how some people’s practice of prayer is not too dissimilar from how some video game junkies seek to escape reality.  The author of the response, one Ms Emily Hornsby, argues that while prayer means to help us rise above the entanglements of this world it was never meant to close us off from its reality.  Prayer as a way of escape rather than a way of enabled engagement may miss why Jesus had us pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Surely, then, prayer is less an escape from what frightens than a way of new perspective and strength to face it.

We started this segment with levity.  Let’s end the segment the same way.

If you were really listening last Sunday, you might’ve heard my allusion to slip ‘n slides.  Well, who knew the world had become so enamored with that 60s era Wham-O invention?  Now, despite the Consumer Protection Safety Commission’s warning that only children should send themselves careening down a watery polyethylene channel, variations on the thin-plastic abound.  I think I’m partial to #5’s taking the idea in a different direction.  Here’s to sliding with no fear.

 

*****

solar-max-polarityOur toilets will not start flushing in the opposite direction. Our cell phones won’t suffer from any more static than they usually do. And the temperatures won’t experience any sudden dips or spikes.  

But the sun will, if you will, flip.  It’s polarity that is.  By the end of the summer, the charge of the sun’s magnetic field at its southern pole will flip to its northern pole.  Fear not, for behold, this was expected–and every 11 years while the sun goes through its own kind of weather cycle.  Our friends over at space.com are happy to elucidate further.

But the Sun’s not the only thing experiencing a flip from south to north.

You’ve seen the emails of late about the prospect of a new meeting site for CtK.  Well, we’re going to flip on over, south of I-20 to the north side, this Sunday at 9am to see what it would be like to worship there for the next season of our young community’s life.  Following worship we’ll gather in FBC’s fellowship hall for further discussion.

Several of you had a walk through Wednesday night and expressed both your suggestions and affirmations.  Following that meeting the Session decided we should take a trial-run of Fairmeadows Baptist Church at 200 Carr Ln (make sure you don’t go to 200 E. Carr). We are paid at the Hilton through this month.  Should we discover FBC unworkable, that leaves us with the option of remaining at the hotel.  Whereas if we waited until just a bit later to try FBC and let our lease expire at the hotel we put ourselves in jeopardy of having no plan B.

By worshipping at FBC this Sunday we’re not necessarily making a long term commitment to share that space. The pastor and community there have graciously offered to let us give it a try before we enter into an agreement with them.  However should we find this location suitable, the Session would proceed to iron out such an agreement. Nothing is as yet set in stone.  Heaven is in the details.

As I tried to frame the consideration of the facility last night, the question we’re trying to answer is not so much, does this spot have that hopelessly subjective category of “style,” but rather does it enable us to proclaim the Kingdom, live into the Kingdom, and become fishers of men for the Kingdom (cf. Mark 1:14-17).  Those ends could be accomplished with a tennis court and a tarp, but given this moment, our needs, and this opportunity, we’re asking God if this place fits those ends.

So, make a note, set a reminder, pass the word, and then turn to the North on Main rather than South.  And email any of us elders if you have questions or concerns.  We’ve been collecting many comments already and will be glad to hear more as they come up.

And then, should we decide to relocate, we’d ask your patience.  There will inevitably be bumps along the road.  Any change encounters such.  But as CtK has learned before, it is those unforeseen calamities that refine and bind us together.

This Sunday we’re looking at the Death of God, Mark 15:33-41.  As surely as the sun’s polarity flips, upending its entrenched way into a new configuration, so Jesus by His death upends things never imagined to change.  In truth His upending was an act of subversion, a purposeful effort to undermine a prevailing way. And the ironic thing is that His subversion was accomplished passively.  In doing nothing but dying, He did everything.  We’ll consider a modern day example of passive subversion to begin this Sunday.  But then we’ll ask how Jesus was that passive subversive par excellence…and then wonder how we might follow in His steps.

*****

In this time of what might feel like disorientation (and fear?) would you pray . .

  • for those suffering with pain, sorrow, confusion, and fear-threatening uncertainty
  • for our youth’s back-to-school gathering this Saturday from 5-8
  • for the wisdom to know if Fairmeadows Baptist Church is a wise choice for our new location
  • for Hugh Comer and Jim Akovenko who’ve begun the accelerated training for eldership at CtK this week (and for the men who’ll begin after the first of the year)
  • for session elder Richard Davis as he attends to his elderly mother
  • finally, pray that the following words on the page from Psalm 105:1-4 (from this morning’s Daily Office) would become the deep inclinations of our hearts

Psa. 105:1    Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;

make known his deeds among the peoples!

2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;

tell of all his wondrous works!

3 Glory in his holy name;

let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!

4 Seek the LORD and his strength;

seek his presence continually

As always, peace to you

Patrick

 

 

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Author: Patrick

Pastor of Christ the King Church (PCA)

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