Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pause Buttons

In the movie Click Adam Sandler's character possesses a remote with which he is able to pause time. Interestingly, whenever he hits the pause button time stops for everyone but himself, so he is able to maneuver around, changing his position (and the position of objects) while other people stand still.

Do you ever wish you could get your hands on such a remote? I know I do.

Thanks to Galileo and his then controversial heliocentric theory, we now know that the world never stands still; we as a planet are in constant motion around the sun. And yet there are times in my life when I wish the world would just stop orbiting, that the people around me would stop moving, that everything and everyone would just stop and take a collective break.

But life isn't like that, is it? There always seems to be people to talk to, projects to finish, shows to watch, emails to respond to, kids to take care of, theories to articulate, books to read, and goals to accomplish. As people in a capitalist society, we are constantly being pulled toward increased productivity and accomplishment--what some call the "rat race"--and so it comes as no surprise that so many people find their value in what they do.

I've wondered for a while how Jesus would function in our society. Would he too feel the constant pressure to perform more, to relate more, to know more? Would he ever give in to that pressure? How would he balance all of his responsibilities? We could speculate all day long and never come to a definite conclusion. Yet I think it's important for us to ask ourselves the following questions: If Jesus were in my shoes, how would my life change? Where would I want to invest my time and energy? What or who would be a priority in my life?

Despite of the endless movement of our world, we as human beings have the ability to pause and reflect on these kinds of questions. We have the ability to make changes, rearrange priorities, and say no to things we once said yes to. It's as if we all hold a remote, but instead of pausing those around us, we can only pause ourselves.

If life seems to be going in directions you would rather not go, then I invite you to pull out your remote, push pause in any way you find helpful (take a vacation, visit a retreat center, start a journal), and take some time reflecting on who God made you to be. What are your passions? What brings you joy? How has God gifted you to be his agent of love in the world?

So go on and push that pause button. It'll change your life.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Dream of the church

I've just begun reading a book by Wolfgang Simson titled "Houses That Change the World" which focuses on who the church is called to be. He begins by spelling out a vision of the church that is both challenging yet inspiring. He dreams of a church that is...

"as simple as One-Two-Three, yet is dynamic; an explosive thing, able to turn the world and a neighborhood upside-down. The church as a supernatural invention, endowed with God's gift of immortality; a means to disciple one another, and to make the life of Jesus rub off on each other. An experience of grace and grapes, love and laughter, joy and jellybeans, forgiveness and fun, power and -yes, why not?- paper.

A church, which does not need huge amounts of money, or rhetoric, control and manipulation, which can do without powerful and charismatic heroes, which is non-religious at heart, which can thrill people to the core, make them lose their tongues out of sheer joy and astonishment, and simply teach us The Way to live. A church which not only has a message, but is the message."

I hope Wolfgang's dream stirs something in you as it did in me.