Friday, February 18, 2011

Resistance and God's Over-Abundance

Many are the grad-grinds today, contorting communion with God into a formula, and manipulating the life of prayer into a blueprint for some kind of measurable result, the end chosen by me or for me. The cup of our soul must somehow be metered and correlated with congregational utility.

Be cordial. Smile. Don't listen.

Whatever happened to God's extravagant grace, overflowing into our receiving, sharing, and giving? Like quality-control engineers, must our spiritual life be managed and controlled and fitted to serve the efficiency model? No longer does my cup overflow as promised in Psalm 23. Instead, the overflow itself is a dangerous waste of precious resource in a world of scarcity and institutional "survivor."

Reading about the shift in culture and clergy role is helpful. Gradually if not inexorably, the years wear down the yearning for more and more of God. More and more self-service can emerge. The passion for doing good with and for real people is siphoned away in the matrix of committee and commission work. The advancement of career- the one thing the system carrots -becomes the consummate good. Spiritual health doesn't matter unless it's tied to the real and measurable data.

But recovery, spiritual and otherwise, begins deep within, not from the outside. Not from looking good or image-management. No amount of trumpeting from well connected officials changes that. The war on inefficiency hides the fact that, in spite of all the waste that the aging structure continues to bless, real ministry continues to be done from a full cup. It's the grace of God. The over-abundance of God's love and mercy. Yearn and pray for it. Listen to it.

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