Ramblings: Trust and Authenticity

Occasionally something catches our attention and we just have to write about it. It may be administrative, It may be theological, but always a thoughtful rambling.

Yesterday, Facebook was full of posts and reposts of Rachel Held Evans latest interview. 

I was captivated by its content. Many of the things that Religious News Service discovered from Rachel were things that I have been thinking about and considering for a long time.

Almost every time I attend a large church seminar or retreat, I wonder, “Why does this feel so slimy?” Then it hit me as I was reading this article, authenticity.  Even if we don’t mean to, the anxiety of the church is seeping into everything we do and adding a sales mentality to our time. We are trying to sell the church, so hard, to the next generation that it just comes across as a slimy mess.

“Millennials have finely-tuned B.S. meters that can detect when someone’s just trying to sell us something.” – Rachel

For me it boils down to Trust, something I admittedly don’t have all figured out, but something I desperately long for. We have to trust that God has the end in hand, not us. We have to trust that it is not our sales pitch that will transform but the Holy Spirit. We have to let go and be our authentic, broken, scared, and fragile selves and let God do the rest.

“We’re not looking for a hipper Christianity. We’re looking for a truer Christianity.” – RACHEL

I think as leaders, we all hope for a community of true disciples. We hope that what we are doing when we gather in worship is making a difference. Sometimes, I think we are trying too hard. Too many meetings about sparkly things, shiny technology, choreography and pizzazz. Not enough meetings of prayer, sharing, communion and Word.

“Death is something empires worry about, not something resurrection people worry about. Lately I’ve been wondering if a little death and resurrection is exactly what the American church needs.” – RACHEL

Hmm. A little death is what we need. We need to die to “the way it has always been” and rise to something new. That is harder said and even harder lived. I think we need to get out of our own way. That has been my mantra lately, to get out-of-the-way of what God is doing. I fight and I fight, I claw and scrape trying to make a difference for the Kingdom. What I really need to do is surrender, give thanks and praise and follow the Spirits lead.

What does that look like? It looks like having a theological conversation about faith with people miles away via Facebook. It looks like putting my gifts to use and expecting nothing in return. It looks like giving praise to God for the crazy ways my life is coming to be. It looks like a spontaneous worship service with unrehearsed words, vulnerable hearts and Holy Scripture. It looks like sacraments shared and peace being passed.

“I’m not convinced discipleship is something we measure best in numbers. A church might produce thousands of attendees without producing any disciples.” – RACHEL

The days of counting nickles and noses are dying. We need to rise as a transformed church, full of Spirit and free of sales pitches.

Ramblings humbly submitted by Rev. Micah James

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