If you’ve spent any time in my house over the past 3 months you’ve noticed one thing above all others. We watch the Disney movie “Moana” at least once a day!
That’s because (for some reason) my 2-year-old LOVES the music and something about the water, beach, little girl, a big adventure – captures her heart. I love to watch her watch it… but the movie is wearing me out!
However, there is a 3 min song near the beginning of the movie that has been speaking to me for the past month as I’ve thought about the words over and over again.
It’s the song that Moana’s dad sings to her about the village. Here are some of the first few lyrics.
“The dancers are practicing. They dance to an ancient song (Who needs a new song? This old one’s all we need) This tradition is our mission…”
I know I’m a pastor, but these lyrics hit me right between the eyes as the state of the western church for the past 50-100 years.
We (the Church) are the people on an island to ourselves and are SO SATISFIED with keeping things as they are. Our traditions have become our mission! We’ve lost sight of who we are and who we were meant to be as followers of God. Here’s some additional lyrics.
“We’re safe and we’re well provided. And when we look to the future There you are, you’ll be okay. In time you’ll learn just as I did You must find happiness right where you are”
There is something to be said for contentment. I believe that is a peace that comes from God. However, there is also a danger in becoming so stuck in a rut that, simply because our needs are provided for… we have been CALLED FOR MORE!
“Out of Context” is a series dedicated to verses of scripture, often used in today’s conversations, that have little to do with the context by which it was written.
Context | (1) the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed; (2) the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning.
Matthew 18:17 “If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.”
This is a signature verse used by many churches to enforce “church discipline” on people that have public sin in their lives, have been confronted by the “church,” and have been excommunicated (cast out) because of their lack of repentance. However, that’s NOT what the context of this verse implies – after all, these are Jesus’ words written by a “tax collector.” Anytime you want to know what Jesus meant by what He said, you simply need to look at the way He lived.
NOTE: I do support the doctrine of church discipline, and there are many great scriptures written in the New Testament to support biblical leadership and the call for Christians to confront other Christians on clear violations of sin in their lives. Paul makes this case very clear in his 1st letter to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 5). However, Paul is very specific about who to judge and how to judge. I don’t believe Matthew should be included in the case of church discipline.
First, we need to go back and see the context of what Matthew is recording when it comes to Jesus’ teaching. Chapter 17 tells us they are in Capernum, and Chapter 18 begins with “about that time” they asked Jesus a question. This question started a time of teaching from Jesus to his disciples and others gathered.
We fear many things in this life, but one that I’ve personally encountered over this past summer is the FEAR OF REFLECTION.
Reflection is simply that time of pondering over, asking questions of, and interpreting things internally. Some people do this through meditation. Some make this a daily part of their prayer life. Some do it as a deliberate practice when considering a major decision. Others simply are forced to do it when something goes horribly wrong and are working to assess what happened and when.
But I’ve noticed in conversations with people that taking time to reflect and ask personal questions (to ourselves) is not something they WANT to do. There is a FEAR that shows up that they didn’t even realize was there.
A Fear of what they will find when they stop moving.
A Fear of what they will hear when they stop talking.
A Fear of what they will feel when they stop rising to meet the expectations of others.
A Fear of what answers they might get to the questions they need to ask.
I know you can picture it. She’s walking down a long dark hallway… slowly creeping with a latern/torch/flashlight in hand…trying to find the exit. The black in front of her is overwhelming… she hears a noise and freezes! “What’s ahead of her in the dark?” we all think to ourselves.We don’t know.
This is obviously the plot of almost every horror and suspense movie, and one of these many scenes usually shows up in the trailers.
We FEAR the unknown.
This is a common thread that binds every human together, and it’s what makes the epic stories of courage and bravery so POWERFUL – overcoming that fear of the unknown (to get the girl, kill the bad guy, escape, win!)
‘The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.’ – H.P. Lovecraft
Too big of a topic to write about in one blog, I want to focus in on one aspect of this fear that brings tension as we live, work, and play in our everyday lives.
I’m enjoying a new (to me) book titled “4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris. I was inspired to read it after watching an interview with the author about a different topic, and people in the audience kept asking him questions about issues and questions raised in his book.
After realizing that the book is not a “slacker’s guide to life: how to get away with doing as little work as possible off get rich schemes” – I decided to read it. I don’t agree with every conclusion he makes or suggestion he offers, but it’s one of the first books I’ve read in a while where the author truly see’s life differently than I do. I like that.
I’m only half way through the book, but I can’t seem to shake a statement made towards the earlier part of the book that seems to be a common thread through all of the chapters.
“When nothing seems to be working, what is the cost of a little experimenting outside of the norm. Almost nothing… outside of the mental Olympics you will need to play!” – Tim Ferris
As a part of my ongoing desire to bring up topics and discuss areas of TENSION that exist between LIFE and FAITH, I’ve had a book idea that I feel compelled to explore.
However, to be truthful, I’m not really an author (in a traditional sense). I love conversation, and my writing is more conversational by nature. I’d rather discuss, bring up questions, and state simple yet complex truths that cannot be easily explained through a monologue style of writing. This is just who I am.
Nevertheless, the more I counsel, coach, and lead in the various organizations I’m involved in, the more I feel the overwhelming desire to write some content specifically about the nature of FEAR in our lives and the FEARLESS call to live a life of Faith.
As a child, memorizing scripture was a part of my upbringing. Even if you didn’t go to church or believe the stuff that church was saying, memorizing small verses was simply a part of the generation I was raised in.
One verse I memorized when in high school would become a verse I would never forget.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
The last part of it is very inspiring to me. I LOVE to see myself as someone of POWER (“You can DO IT”), LOVE – #lovewins, and Self-Discipline – “set your course and don’t stop until you get there”.
I could give a motivational talk on those 3 things and tour the country winning over crowd after crowd with a message of POWER, LOVE, and SELF-DISCIPLINE. Everyone I know wants these things and wants them to be TRUE of their lives.
However, most of us don’t function with these three things active in our daily lives because we always seem to be fighting an underlying “spirit” of fear.
When the doctrines of faith and science meet, many view it as a collision of opposite ideals and extremes – I see it as a beautiful waltz of 2 distinct ideals with more in common than people realize. Many don’t think they can co-exist! I happen to believe they don’t simply co-exist – they were “made for each other”.
Dr. Ben Carson was once drilled in an interview on NBC about his faith with the assumption that it was a direct conflict with science. He laughed mostly, but the words he did say that caught my attention were these. “I find a very good measure of correlation between my religious beliefs and my scientific beliefs… for those that struggle with this, I’m more than to discuss with them why they believe what they believe, and why I believe what I believe.”.
I love his willingness to discuss why he can be a scientist and a man of faith. I know people struggle with this and if you’re not a fan of Dr. BC and hate that I started with a quote from him… chill out. This post is not about Ben Carson.
The fact is Faith and Science go together like Garrett’s specialty popcorn in Chicagoland. A unique mix of caramel & cheese popcorn! It shouldn’t go together… but THEY JUST DO! (If you haven’t experienced this awesomeness – you can order some online today).
Here are just a few reasons why I believe that Faith and Science were made for each other.