A Psalm for Missional Leaders

I just finished reading David Fitch’s take on sustainable ministry for missional leaders and pastors. You can read it here. He explained that the temptation to get pragmatic in our ministries (i.e., tell the people what they want to hear in order to pay for programs/salaries) is drastically lessoned when a missional community (1) keeps building expenses minimal, (2) maintains a multiple bi-vocational/bi-ministerial pastorate, and (3) develops an economy of thrift (free-cycling, meal sharing, etc.) among members. What do you think? Is he being realistic?

Lastly, Fitch recommends some good ol’ fashion spiritual disciplines (i.e., daily long walks, silence, and lectio divina) for renovating the heart of a missional leader out of the grimy hands of fear and/or pandering. Here’s the “Psalm for Missional Leaders” he’s been using (with his own notation):

Psalm 37

Fret not…
Trust in the Lord and do good
Dwell in the land, and cultivate faithfulness (or “feed on His faithfulness” – this line is a mantra for missional pastors)
Delight yourself in the Lord’
And he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord
Trust also in Him and He will do it
And he will bring forth your righteousness as the light…

So, to all my church friends and leaders…do not fret! Let’s get our hands in the dirt so to speak and quietly walk away from anxious reactions. Let’s make a more sustainable ministry for our communities and then see the fruit of joining the lasting missio dei. How else could we expect our lives to become the change we hope to see?

p.s. If I didn’t already mention this, you have to read David’s post. I did? Well, just read it…pretty please!

Long Live Gravity!

Here’s a timely and difficult excerpt from a book of poetry by Wendell Berry:

When I hear the stock market has fallen,

I say, “Long live gravity! Long live

stupidity, error, and greed in the palaces

of fantasy capitalism!” I think

an economy should be based on thrift,

on taking care of things, not on theft,

usury, seduction, waste, and ruin.

I guess I’m a bit of a prude (or dogmatic) when it comes to economy and sin. Why do we put up with evil when it’s attached to our paychecks?

A Poem For Mother Teresa

Our Dark Mother (“To be at His disposal”)

“Let Him do with me whatever He wants
as He wants for as long as He wants.
If darkness is light to some soul—even
if it be nothing to nobody—I am
perfectly happy—to be God’s
flower of the field.”

You mean it, Mother?
Suffering, surrendered like a
petal dropped and wasted. No matter
how thinly you felt His Absence
or how callousedly your heart beat?

Did your watery eyes even pinken,
with signs of hope drooling away?
Or sometimes did you say, “I have to
refuse what He desires to take,”
perhaps at night or in your mourning?

Is it true you longed to love Him,
Dark Mother, His Hiddeness—His
dark Passion too? Your Poverty
on the Cross with His, a Victim
for us and, you, a victim for Him.

“I can’t express in words—the gratitude
I owe you for your kindness to me.—For
the first time in this 11 years—I have
come to love the darkness.—For I believe
now that it is a part, a very, very small
part of Jesus’ darkness & pain on earth…
More than ever I surrender myself to Him—
Yes—more than ever I will be at His disposal.”

The Real Economic Bailout!

Friends, please read this piece I wrote for Jesus Manifesto. I hoped, in it, to express the discontent I have often felt when facing the underbelly of global-consumer-capitalism, and how maddening it can be to find oneself compelled to live within nationalized and politicized states of greed. All that to say, I’m hopeful (and more easily de-scripted from the empire’s imagination) every time some small-scale, local community begins to take shape–friends and family sharing with one another–working off the grid, so to speak! So, take a look at the article and tell me what you think.

My boss at work, Eric, sent me an article with an interesting take on the subject as well. You can find it here. It’s definitely worth the read. Also, Josh Brown highlighted the absurdity of AIG taking a $443,000 luxury retreat in the midst of its own “economic bailout”/bankruptcy. They haven’t got a clue!

Feel free to leave comments about any of the above topics. Agree/disagree with my take on things?