Posts Tagged ‘Resonance’

It should be fairly simple to sew something from a pattern. And yet, no matter how many times I’ve tried, I muck it up. Either the directions have vocabulary I don’t understand or I can’t fit the pattern to my body. The other day I found one of these projects, pins and all, folded up in a storage box.

Philippians 3:17
Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.

There’s a book I read some time ago called Becoming a Resonant Leader by Annie McKee, Richard Boyatzis, and Frances Johnston. In general, I enjoy books on leadership principles and this text is one of the better ones. However, I hated the very first exercise: “think about how you came to be the person you are today, and think about who helped you along the way. ‘Who Helped Me?'”

This exercise was intended to reveal to me the many people who helped me along my path. Instead, my mind drifted to all the people who didn’t help me. Instead of feeling better and stronger from these memories, I felt empty and alone. Who did I admire? Who mentored me? Who helped me get a job or learn a skill?

Of course, there were people along the way, but it was always in pieces and not the whole. My mother taught me to persevere, my brother taught me ambition, and there were friends who answered questions and held my heart while men and lovers betrayed it.

Perhaps that was one of the reasons I grabbed on so tightly to the cloak of Christ. Here was a flawless mentor.

But then, I ran afoul of the Christ interpreters who laid out Christ patterns before me to follow. Play nice in the sandbox. Be humble. Don’t confess fears or pain that show lack of faith. Don’t swear. Watch what you say. Love your neighbor. Stay married. Submit. Dress quietly. Sing loudly. Speak softly. Dance. Praise. Tithe money, tithe prayers. Let go of dreams. Serve the poor. Go to Africa. Live in the ghetto. Adopt the orphans. Sell everything. Give more. Be strong. Be weak. Be happy. Weep with those who weep.

Nothing really so wrong with any of it. But the patterns were too hard to follow. And so I folded them up and put them away.

The way may be narrow, yes, but the yoke is supposed to be light.

So, here’s what I think today: when I feel lost, I can look ahead and see others who have blazed a trail for such a difficult time as this. There’s a light ahead and I can follow it. But there are also times when I can make my own trail. And, if I look back, there may be people who need my way and my light.

When Jesus did miracles, they were all different. Sometimes he spoke a word, sometimes he laid a hand, and one time, he spat and created mud from the earth. He intentionally avoided a set pattern because life isn’t like that.

Christ patterns are made with dotted lines, not fat magic markers. God allowed each of us to be unique: eyes, nose, mouth, voice, skin color, abilities, etc. Doesn’t it make sense that the way would also be unique? My pattern is not your pattern. My pain is not your pain. My healing is not your healing.

Eyes on the prize from the inside out.

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Acts 7:33
Then the Lord said to him [Moses], ‘Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground…’ [Stephen to the Sanhedrin]

I have always thought Moses was told to remove his sandals because they defiled the ground. But today, as I read this passage, I see something new: it was important for Moses to actually feel that holy place with his feet. There was strength and truth and power that would touch him through the ground, that holy earth spot.

I don’t have much experience, background or tradition of holy places outside the church or in various para-church settings. But I think there would be more experiences if I would open myself to them. I too often cocoon myself away from seeking out holy places.

In the same way that Moses stepped onto holy ground initially in sandals, I clothe myself in tradition and limiting expectations. It’s time to take off my shoes…. again.

Some years ago, I was on the cutting edge of worship. I was listening to the Vineyard and Hillsong and even Maranatha before that. I was standing on the charismatic bandwagon and riding up front. I was dancing and praising and jumping and shaking and laughing. I was speaking in tongues and singing in the spirit. I was prophesying and interpreting. I was on fire.

But I don’t think I was standing in bare feet on holy ground. Not really. I was going through the motions (and emotions) of what it might mean to touch holy ground. Actually, all I did was put on a different pair of shoes than the more traditional churches were passing out to their congregants.

Today, there is another generation of believers who is trying to take off their shoes and experience God’s holiness. For some of us, it’s too different. They are getting their feet very dirty. They are slopping through some weird stuff, but they are persisting through the swamp and on to higher ground. They are loving God and loving Christ Jesus and loving their neighbors. They are emergents like the Emergent Village, they are Christianity 21, they are Catalyst, they are in “conversation.” They are connected virtually and face to face. They are Solomon’s Porch, Apex, House of Mercy, Ooze, Axxess, Sublime Remix, Boaz, Headspace, Cedar Ridge, Water’s Edge, Tribe, Resonance, Three Nails, Mars Hill, and ReIMAGINE, to name just a few. They are embracing Christ in our culture and sharing His relevance with those who have long since worn boots in all the holy and unholy places.

For the naysayers against this new brand of followership, I remind them of Gamaliel, “So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.” [Acts 5:38-39]

Lord, take my shoes this day and help me touch holy ground. Give me insight and transforming power. Give me courage to walk in this new place. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll dance again.

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