Thursday, May 28, 2009

Defining Moments

I watched American Idol faithfully.  I was an AI stalker, and with good reason.  The guy that eventually won is from a small town in Arkansas and many college student from our church know him.  In fact, he sang at a wedding last year at our church, on our stage, with our awful sound system.  How cool is that.

Kris had his defining moment out there for the world to see.  We watched as the so called underdog knocked off the prodigy.  He even had the big inspirational song, pyrotechnics, and confetti to boot.  Now the season is over, his family back to rural america, and Kris and his very new bride are touring the planet.  Sounds kind of cool.  What a life changer.

On the very night that Kris had his defining moment, a young girl in our youth ministry had hers.  She comes from a broken family that is far from functional.  For some reason, I've just had a soft spot for this young lady, even though she has given me plenty or reasons not to.  (including theft while on a trip)  Shared my heart that night, and talked about depression, suicide and cutting.  (  God was working in an amazing way that night.  Several student who were contemplating suicide found hope, cutters found healing, the those struggling with depression found new meaning.  It was a great night.  

One of the unique features was that several kids wanted to talk, up close, one on one.  This young lady was one.  She began to talk about home and the issues there, and about being expelled from school.  (mixing in a few colorful adjectives along the way)  At that moment I saw that young lady sitting in a wreck home, fatherless children, drugs and alcohol running rampant.  Then a second image appeared, and it was her, with a loving husband, beautiful kids, and she was speaking to other students.  I shared that with her, prayed, and let her know that I really believed in her and we were going to see her through it.  She looked up at me, with tears in her eyes and said, "I wish you were my dad."  Now I am sure that you have already jumped ahead to say this was her defining moment, but you would only be half right.  It was mine as well,

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Friendliness vs. Relationship

It has been a bit since the last post for several reasons, but will not discuss all of that.  Over the last few weeks I have been developing an idea on relationship perspectives.  Where I am at now, people are genuinely friendly.  Sure, there are the church scabs, (people who refuse to heal from the past wounds) but for the most part, people are friendly.  In the south, we just refer to it as southern hospitality.  If you don't know what that is, just work for a yankee for a while.  Sorry DA, not throwing you under the bus here, because i think you get it, but southerners just know hospitality.  Love ya, bro.

The problem is this:  there are few quality relationships.  Relationship has been replaced with friendliness, and that is only a superficial connection.  It won't weather the storms and can be easily replaced.  Value is lessened.  Everyone is your postman.  They see you regularly, know you by what they can read on the outside, and are not interested in the dogs in your life.  

I have people with whom I have a genuine relationship.  We know each other well.  We know our faults, of which I have plenty, and they still hang around.  Even if my dog has bit them in the past, they heal the wound and come back.  Beyond that, I seek out new relationships.  Now I find myself connecting with a newer, younger generation of leaders because of the whole reverse mentoring paradigm.  (see previous posts)  Without the depth of relationship, we will remain superficial and self-centered.

This carries over to our spiritual life as well.  We have all heard the phrases thrown around in Christendom about a "relationship" with Christ, but seldom see it modeled.  I believe, in part, because relationship is personal and private.  We don't wear relationship on our sleeve.  I don't tell of my wife's secrets to the world.  It is part of our relationship.  It's the depth and value of who we are together.  When I pour out my insecurities and failures to God, He doesn't need to tell you.  That is relationship.  Friendliness is fantastic, but relationship is forever.