"When you begin to think outside the box, you often become some other "leaders" lousy follower. That usually costs something" (Andy Rayner)

"Our guardian angels are bored." (Mike Foster)

It's where I feel I'm at these days. “In the second half of life, it is good just to be a part of the general dance. We do not have to stand out, make defining moves, or be better than anyone else on the dance floor. Life is more participatory than assertive, and there is no need for strong or further self-definition” (Falling Upward. Richard Rohr.120).

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How Church Growth Books & Libraries Kill Your Pastor's (Priest, Minister and Leaders) Soul.

Reminds me of the day, about fourteen years ago,  I walked up to my bookshelves and began hauling books off the shelf forming a pile on the floor. When finished, I sorted through the four foot high mountain and made a pile to give away, another to burn. I gave away many thousands of dollars worth of books. The burn pile had almost $3000 worth of "Church Growth" and  "Discipleship" books. I began hauling them up the upstairs and out into the back woods. After several trips my wife came down and asked me what I was doing. I explained... My wife suggested I might give these very "popular" church growth and discipleship books to some other minister or leader who would like to have them.  I replied, "Why would I heap a burden on another young minister,  a burden that even I myself could not bear?" I burned them in the woods over that fire promising God I'd seek him instead.... and promised that I would not read another such book for ten years, and only then to see if the conversations had changed yet........

"Even as i sit at my desk writing this chapter, a ravenous monster lurks not more than 12 feet behind me. He is big— ten feet across and eight feet high. His name is library. In small doses he can be very helpful, but when he lines up all his resources against me, he can be quite formidable even though he can’t move an inch.
He has eight shelves full of books of every size and description. Most I've read, some I've skimmed, and some are there because I still hope to read them. But each one calls to me with its own agenda. Here are five books with detailed blueprints for deepening my spiritual life. I have nearly two dozen books on the definitive church structure, none of which agree with the others except on one point— my church is doing it wrong! I have a dozen books on human relationships and family life. I’m amazed that marriages even stayed together before the invention of the printing press. And i have 12 different slants on eschatological events, each using the same scriptures to prove widely varying points of view.
I have workbooks that offer me ten easy steps to anything I want— but most of them don’t work. ......
But my selection of books on current issues is the most intimidating of all. I have 15 selections cheering me on to more activity than I can produce in six lifetimes. Sell your home and live among the inner-city poor! Get rich so you can send money to God’s evangelists so they can help the poor! If God hasn't specifically told you to stay in America, go overseas as a missionary! We must stop abortion now! The list goes on and on— antipornography, new age movement, politics, Latin America….
Sometimes I want to rip this monster from my wall. It’s not that i don’t enjoy books, since my wall wouldn't be full of them if I didn't. But I get this nagging feeling that we've made Christianity far more complicated than its Founder intended. And i get that same feeling whenever i look at a church calendar or my own schedule, or attend a pastor’s conference.
When our hearts cry out for an intimate fellowship with God that seems to escape us, maybe we ought to look at how complicated we've made a very simple gospel."
(Wayne Jacobsen. The Naked Church)

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