gentry13

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2005 at 5:27 am

“this stage is a confessional, you kneel and then begin. oh you cross yourself those three times, and step into this skin”

i can’t sleep. i don’t want to say that God woke me up because it sounds crazy, but it is the truth all the same. so here i am, feet on the windowsill, full glass of wine, hoping that this exercise in disclosure will solidify this unsettled mind. the ying in me says that i shouldn’t be blogging at such times, but the yang argues otherwise. let’s drink to the yang.

a half-hour or so ago, a piece of my life seemed to fall into place. somewhere in the midst of my dreams, which were troubled by katrina’s horrific scenes as well as one another of kellie’s simple yet brilliant schemes, my vocation seemed to come into focus. the feverish, half-baked revelation is this: i am a community organizer, not a preacher.

i realize that many of you who are close to me probably already realize this, but i’m just beginning to understand, so bear with me.

i think that this means that i am called to equip the saints for ministry rather than try to shape them with my ideas. God has not called me to simply be a conduit of sanctified information, but to help people incarnate the truth they find in Scripture and follow the path the Spirit of God has stretched out before them. i said earlier in the week that i feel more like an accompanier than a leader. that is part of it. my greatest joy comes from not simply helping people understand the gospel, but rather helping people be the gospel to others. all joking aside, when i see alex setting aside two hours to listen to mikey, loving him enough to hope for a better life for him and believing God enough to think that such a catalytic event is possible, i am much more satisfied than i am after preaching the most powerful sermon. moreover, when i read about becky’s absolutely ingenious attempts to invite high school students to fall into God’s story, i feel more satisfied than i have ever felt after completing an outline for a teaching or an agenda for a meeting. since accompaniment is the way that i can most effectively equip the saints for ministry, i am deeply committed to it. i am deeply indebted to jean vanier for this understanding of ministry. for more on this approach check out community and growth.

a couple of weeks ago i lamented the fact that i am behind the times in regards to understanding the catastrophic social injustices that currently blight the globe. although i am interested in increasing my knowledge in this area, i am also strangely warmed by the fact that i have helped give birth to a community full of people who are passionate about a number of these issues and are currently advocating and acting on behalf of the poor. for instance, i am overwhelmed by the fact that craig is enabling our community to invest in the university education of a young Ugandan man. moreover, i am so thankful that james and brooke have been trying to teach me for years that my consumption patterns can either bless or blight the people of the world. on a more personal note, i have been overwhelmed by kellie’s suggestion that when we begin to work through the process of adopting (as an adopted kid, i think that it is important to pass on the blessing) we should explore the possibility of adopting a handicapped child. as difficult as that commitment would be, it would provide me with an opportunity to continue living out a love for the disabled that stretches back to my youth and would, in a sense, be a continuation of the experience that first bound kellie and i together. in the end, i think right now i need to stop looking for a new issue to embrace or a cause to commend, so that i can walk and work with my brothers and sisters as we seek to address the issues God has placed upon their hearts.

i know that as one who once was considered and considered himself a preacher, i am supposed to offer you another point and a poem. but that’s all i can unravel at this point. as i turn my attention to my half-full glass of wine (yes, dr. james, this glass is gentry-sized) and set out to pursue the best way that our community can participate in the ongoing hurricane relief (rick, et. al, if you have any ideas here, let me know), i would like to affirm that my heart is full and i am incredibly honored to help lead a community of God. peace be with you.

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