Friday, June 24, 2005

The Honeymoon?

"As a coach, there are days when I feel God is using me as a source of comfort for people in the midst of crisis and meltdown, and then there are days when it seems He's using me to stir a crisis for people who are strangely and tragically "comfortable" in the prison of their own minds." - Jim Spivey
"God comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable." -- Unknown
"If your spiritual guide, whatever his or her denomination, doesn’t say something every once in a while that pi___s you off, – they’re only interested in your money!" - Waitorrant, some dude who's blogspot I read
I've had 4 serious conversations in the last 4 days about people's concerns on where our church is headed. They have been GREAT. And I mean it. Finally, I'm getting to talk to people about what matters to them. Finally, some fire and passion from some of those "out there" who are wondering, albeit somewhat skeptically and critically, about what's going on "in here". It's just so nice to talk to a few of these people face to face, life on life, instead of talking to some "representative" of the famous "there are some of those who are concerned" group.
I went to lunch with a buddy who was one of the conversations I'm talking about. He was genuinely concerned about how I would take his feedback, which I was appreciative for and admittedly made the conversation go much easier for both of us. Then, as if he pulled back and looked at our table from across the room at the two of us discussing things, he laughed and asked me, "Does it feel like the honeymoon's over?" (For those of you just joining us, I moved to this church in Amarillo about 1 year ago as the preacher.)
The honeymoon. In minister lingo, the honeymoon is some set amount of time where "the people" of a church give "the new guy" a chance of some sort. A chance for what, I don't prove himself, to get comfortable in a new place, to show he might know what he is doing...I don't know, but it is something like that.
I won't lie and say I have nothing to prove, I most definitely have something to prove.
I won't lie and say that I haven't appreciated people's politeness as I transition to a new city and new church family, that has been nice.
I won't lie and tell you that I wish I did know what I was doing...but quite frankly, I've had to get comfortable with not knowing exactly what I'm doing, all the while doing it, for a long time...and so does everyone around me.
But, doggone it, I have to tell ya, I've never really seen much evidence of the honeymoon's existence. I guess it may exist, it's talked about so much, and this is my first job change since I took the youth ministry job in Houston 15 years ago, so I may just not have much experience with it.
At any rate, here are my 2 cent thoughts on my "honeymoon"...
I have something grand to prove whether I'm in a so-called honeymoon or not, and my only concern is which one will better advance that Cause. And I expect Christ-like people to be polite, whether I'm in a honeymoon or not...even if they have hard stuff to overcome or come to me about. If "polite" means, "I'll hold off on telling him the hard truth for a time", well, then, that is one big, fat waste of time...the honeymoon is. Let's just pass on it. And let me give some help to those who want to check and see if I know what I'm doing before you come and instruct me on how to do it...wait no more...I don't know what I'm doing...and anyone who does I'm a hungry and able learner, so bring it on.
My small role in the Great Kingdom of God oftentimes puts me in the enviable/unenviable role of shaking people up who are comfortable, and comforting those who are shaken up. I have answered the call with my eyes wide open, without an expectation on myself or on my church to handle each other perfectly, but with an expectation for us to handle it with the loving truth, and with truthful love.
So to continue on the analogy, if I have been given a honeymoon, and if it has played a valid and meaningful part in the progress of God in this place among us, thank you. But now let's continue on into the hard work of marriage. Jesus didn't come into the world to go to Disney World (not that he wouldn't go). He came as Truth and Love, on a mission to return Life to people, and it was costly, hard, relational work.
And that is what we are here for.


Casey McCollum said...

As one in the 'honeymoon' stage - if such a thing exists - I appreciate your words. Also, I like the idea of comforting the shaken and shaking the comfortable but how do we do this without being cavalier? It seems a fine line of balance - but such is ministry!

Frank said...

I just came across your blog about womens relationship advice and wanted to drop you a note telling you how much I enjoy reading the stuff you are posting here. I also have a web site about womens relationship advice so I know what I'm talking about when I say your site is top-notch! Keep up the great work, you are providing a great resource on the world wide web!