Hi, all. Haven’t written in a while. No excuses. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.
Truth is: I haven’t been inspired. In my draft box, I’ve got 3 posts on 3 different topics started, but not completed. Sometimes I make things more complicated than they need to be, and that winds up becoming overwhelming, which leads to feelings of dread and procrastination. Any other anxiety sufferers out there willing to gimme an “Amen?”
But here we are now. I’m still overwhelmed, but am diving in anyway.
A couple of things I wanted to announce:
1. Pub Theology is still going on every Thursday night. I won’t always be there – in fact, most of the time I’ll just be there the first Thursday of each month. But someone should always be there to facilitate. I’m grateful to Pr. Liz Albertson, our synod’s Director for Evangelical Mission, for stepping into the facilitator role when she can. But the rest of the folks there know the drill, so there ought always to be a friendly face at the table over at the White Lion on Thursday nights at 8.
2. Part of the reason I’m scaling back is that I can’t afford to go out every single week anymore. The budget is tight. I can write these off as non-reimbursed business expenses, but that only goes so far.
3. Another reason I’m scaling back is that I’m trying to do other things. I’m going back to my Wednesday morning “Coffee with the Pastor” meetings at Panera. A refillable coffee is a LOT cheaper than Pub Theology, though I find both very gratifying, spiritually.
But on top of this, I’ve been wanting to do some other kinds of ministry aside from just “talk ministry.” While theological work is really important, as is the kind of fellowship that happens in pubs and coffee shops, it primarily “serves” or focuses on people who can afford to pay for that kind of thing. In the meantime, people on the streets are hungry and cold.
So, on the nights when I’m not at the Pub, I plan on heading down to Night Light Tulsa. I’d be thrilled if any or all of you would join me in building relationships with some of the homeless folks in our town. If you can’t make it, please pray for us, send us good vibes or positive thoughts, whatever you can do. The people down there aren’t homeless because homelessness is part of “an active outdoor lifestyle,” but instead because they are in pain – emotional pain, spiritual pain, often physical pain.
Part of my criticism of the church when I stepped away from it years ago is the same criticism I have now – we’re so “heavenly minded, we ain’t no earthly good.” In other words, we’re turned in on ourselves, our preferences, our programs, our member care, our worship, our music. We have been gifted, as I keep saying in my sermons, not for our own good, but for the sake of the world. If we hold on to our gifts as though they were rare treasures instead of as abundant assets to be shared, we’re turning our backs on our call to serve the Lord in our neighbor, and we’re turning our backs on the gospel. This, by the way, is also a criticism that many young people have of the church. A body turned in on itself is useless.
So, this is one of the major mission focus shifts I’m making in my own life. It sure would be good if you guys would join me.
More to come. This is good for now.