Saturday, November 27, 2010

Is there too much excellence in your church?

I've had a love/hate relationship with excellence since I became much less capable of it, so I was pretty interested in this article when I saw it.  Here are some of my favorite, thought-provoking bits.

"I’m troubled by excellence in churches because—at least in my middle-America leafy suburb—excellence tends to mean we spend a lot of money on it. That we get only the best and the brightest to work on something. Or that we don’t do something until it can be done excellently."

"And that’s the biggest problem. We live in a world—even in smack dab in leafy suburbs—of need. Of people who need help. Now. Who can’t wait for things to be done excellently; they just need things done."

"I think, in fact, that this is how Jesus operated. I don’t picture him sitting around with his disciples talking about how they had to do everything excellently (and they didn’t tell us he did). It seems to me, he just wanted them to do something. While of course he was perfect so therefore did do everything 'excellently,' I suppose, his contemporaries mostly found him shocking. His sort of excellence wouldn’t have been appreciated."
- "The Trouble with Excellence" by Caryn Rivadeneira (June 16, 2010)

Then there was this comment.

'Here are a few insights I have had about this issue. In my workplace, I have attended many many seminars over the past 2 decades about "excellence". Many of them have been extremely valuable for my career. However, the church is not a Fortune 20 company and its purpose for existing is completely different. Too often I have seen in the church excellence used for somone to drive a project, a hiring, a change to the service-etc all under the heading of moving to excellence. I fear we value excellence over loving each other. The songs and books Christian write/sing may NOT be as good as our secular counterparts and that is actually okay. The purpose for singing or writing is to glorify God-and I would go so far to say that God is greatly glorifed by a less than perfect song but a tendar worshipful heart. People are not producing sloppy work-many of them are producing only what they know how to create-and that is good enough. They do it because they love the Lord. I fear our worship services are all about appearence, our meals are all catered, the sermons must be perfect etc. My parents held very high standards-we were held accountable for doing the best they knew we could-but no more. And those things we were not good at-our effort is what brought them joy.'
- trisha on June 16, 2010

Yeah.  It really made me think.  How about you? 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Melodrama for the brokenhearted

I was thinking about a friend I had once.  I saw a show recently and wanted him to see it because he's the only one among that particular group of friends who can really appreciate a good melodrama.  I also thought of him because my employer is hiring people in his field, and I wondered if he was looking for a job.  I got all excited for a moment, thinking how great it would be if he moved out here.

Then I remembered.

Oh, yeah.  He fell in love with me once.  And I had to break his heart.  For some reason, he doesn't keep in touch anymore.

So that's why I can't recommend the show and why I have no idea whether he's looking for a job and why he is a stranger now. 

It doesn't seem fair that I broke his heart, and mine hurts, too.  What separates drama from melodrama?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Standing still (and loving it)

I have come to a decision.  Not a DECISION set-in-stone-here-I-stand-I-can-do-no-other, but a decision like a rest stop along the way.  I have been wearing myself out wrestling with whether my peculiar distance is a problem I should be trying to change or a gift.  For now, I am tired.  I have decided to let it be a gift for now and to be like this person. 

"Just like always, he never stops things that come, or chases things that leave."

Rather than making myself be concerned over relationships where I have to force myself to chase someone reluctant, I will let myself relax and go back to merely observing and not trying to make things "better."  It's kind of refreshing not to be irritated because I'm putting in effort I don't want to for someone who wants but does not want to be seen as wanting. 

Maybe it's okay to just be me.  It worked for years before I got paranoid about it.

I think I feel better already.

Do you know any people (other than me) who could be described with this quote (and seem happy with their lot)?