Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Benefits of Creative Discontent

Just back from a retreat weekend with my students. Great community building times, beautiful weather and some days away from the usual. The conference speaker was an interesting guy with passion for discipleship making, and a strong anti-institutional church bent. I picked his brain about what he thinks of the emerging church conversation and he told me that he believes they are behind the curve. He feels that emerging church is no different than modern church any more than a souped up Corvette is different than a Model T Ford...they are both just four wheels and an internal combustion engine. He wants to return to a first century model of making disciples in community and letting that be church. I found his thoughts challenging and interesting, though I am sure that if we had more time I would have found many areas of deep disagreement. What I appreciated about talking with him, though, is the creative discontent he has with church-as-usual. That is something that deeply resonates with me, even though I love my imperfect, funny little local church.

God is teaching me constantly, particularly as I struggle with what discipleship means. I know He is calling me to deeper, more sacrificial love and that I am to become a new kind of shepherd--more extravagant in my loving, more transparent in my struggle, more open in community. It's much easier to be business-like and seminary-educated and strong--the one with the answers, the one people come to with their problems. It’s easier not to truly love and not to forgive because then you don’t feel anything, don’t get hurt, its all very professional. I remember reading Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, as a teenager and this quote has always stuck with me:

To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries, avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket of your selfishness.  But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change.   It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable.  The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.  The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell. 

I never wanted to be a “professional Christian” and I am still fighting against that. I want my life to be one whole piece…all connected organically, all flowing out of what God is doing in me. I want my role as woman of God, wife, mom, minister, friend, member of a local church body, extended family member, all to be seamless.

I am finding my voice more and more each day, and blogging is helping me crystallize what God is doing in me. I have not arrived, and must never be satisfied with a complacent sense of having arrived. If I stop growing, I will die, my ministry will die, and the joy of my salvation dies.

Micah Girl


Blogger WES ELLIS said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:47 PM  
Blogger WES ELLIS said...

Thanks for the post.

I hope you're open to answering questions. I am a little lost as to what the "emerging church" is? I am afraid at this point I am in agreement with the conference speaker. We seem to have lost the first century church's understanding of what a desciple is. In Jesus time it was no easy task. To become a desciple meant that your rabbi chose you and felt that you had what it took to do what he did. I think we take this lightly. we make it sound like deciples are simpy people who think what Jesus said was true. It seems, that it doesn't, in our time, have anything to do with the way you live your life. A "Christian" who is bitter at heart and seems to be a part of the overall problem is painted with the same brush that I am. In that way I think it's necessary to at least go back to a first century understanding of descipleship.
So what is the emerging church? does their view on decipleship differ from the first century church perspective? if not where do the differences lie, method, structure, theology?

sorry if this is too much

1:49 PM  
Blogger MicahGirl said...

Hi, Wes

I am no expert in defining the Emerging Church, but I am intrigued by the conversation and influenced by its ideas. Some of my previous posts New Kind of MicahGirl and Emerging Kick and also Why I want to be a missional Christian reflect some of my thinking on the subject as I really began to study it a few months ago. Another great place to check out what the conversation is about is Emergent Village . It is supposed to be a postmodern conversation and not a unified movement, so you will find that there are a wide variety of people who identify with some of the ideas.

I also think that discipleship is long-forgotten spiritual discipline that we must recover, as that is how Jesus chose to grow His church.

Micah Girl

3:00 PM  
Blogger spiritual ingenue said...

ooohhhh micah, we are SO on the same leg of the journey with this whole church thing. I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog.

jan :)

12:46 PM  
Blogger MicahGirl said...

It's great to find a sister in the blogosphere!

Blessings to you!

12:55 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

I am so glad I found your blog through the Christian Carnival. I too am attempting to make my life one, no longer fragmented with Jesus Christ at the center of all that I do. I am working on releasing my creativity in the service of the Lord through my writing (or any other medium He leads me to) and through my homeschooling efforts. I too feel that I am being called into ministry and I am planning a parent's prayer group. Thanks for sharing your life. It is an inspiration for me!

3:56 PM  

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