Cease From All Your Labors!
Some people find it very frustrating to be a part of our community. Some have been so frustrated over it that they've actually left, never to come back. One of the biggest frustrations is that there are no real programs to speak of. So when someone comes to our community and wants to get involved, they have no idea what to do. Many people come with many skills and they want to apply them, but often end up frustrated because they don't quite know how to go about it. They come to me, but not only am I not very helpful, but I refuse to create programs just to keep them busy. I point them back to themselves. We generally don't like that. This process has happened to everyone in this community, including myself. And this is the kind of human nature that finds fullest expression in religious contexts. Generally, people feel more valuable, or feel their worth, only when they are doing something. I reject that. Grace means to me that my value or worth has more to do with who I am than with what I do. God loved me while I was a sinner, dead. It is not about what I do. It is about something deeper. I am convinced that out of this revelation of my value and worth to God emerges gratitude, from which ought to emerge true good works. I've seen it a few times where someone is frustrated with the seeming inactivity of our church, but after a while they start realizing that the church isn't the problem, but their own incessant obsession with the need for approval based on their compulsive activity. This not only has to do with their relationship with themselves and their community, but everything to do with their relationship with God. Some say just being isn't enough. I agree. But I say: truly being leads to true compassion. Take it a bit further: churches fall into the same trap of measuring their value and worth by how much they are doing. Is it possible for a church community to go through weeks, months or even years of ceasing activity in order to come to a place of a deeper understanding of love? Is there room for stillness, rest, contemplation, self-analysis and humility in the church? Generally we don't think so. This doesn't mean that good works will cease. In fact, I've seen it with my own eyes. The opposite is true. A more significant kind of activity is created. There is a yoke, but it is light. And I will write about this maybe another time. The photo is the creation of my friend Jorgen Klausen. I chose it because it evokes, for me, a sense of authenticity and being comfortable in your skin.