A follow-up comment on yesterday's post on spiritual decision making by the Session.
Do I sound like I'm talking to your youth group? Sorry, I find that adults and middle schoolers are at very similar places in their lives. Each are asking questions about where God is in the midst of their lives, the church and the world.
As adults we do a better job of covering up our sense of spiritual inadequacy. We make the practice of spirituality so sophisticated that our children don't understand it. We do so by intellectualizing it. Even our "practice" of spirituality becomes so task oriented that we lose something in our attempts to control it. I know there is a long tradition of spiritual discipline. What I'm focused on is the attitude that we bring to the task.
Middle schoolers know they don't have all the answers. They are looking for someone to care for them so they can ask the heart-felt questions that their parents are afraid to ask, but also have. Middleschoolers are looking for love and affirmation, direction and fun. I think adults are looking for the same thing.
Is this spiritual? I think so, but you have to answer that question for yourself. I'm not talking about church styles here. I'm talking about how we personally connect to the church as adults and elders.
Our prayer together as elders should affirm our need for Christ's grace - not as some abstract theological good idea that we can all intellectually affirm - but as that one slender thread of hope that we have that all aspects of our lives can be joined together so that something really great can result. Can we admit as elders that we have questions? Not some false humility that says I'm not the spiritual giant my pastor is. Your pastor is no different than you are, both in need to God's grace to make a difference as leaders in the church.
Is this possible for a Session when it has so much work to do? The spiritual question is whether we create all this administrative activity to avoid the humility, the transparency and the giving-up-of-control required to be open to God's leading. This is not a rhetorical question. It is quite easy to fall back on just being administrators of a community non-profit, and nothing more. The Session is more than that.
Bottom line is that we all are looking for some affirmation from God. The problem is that if we spend all our time looking for that affirmation, we fail to put ourselves in a position to receive it. Affirmation comes by acceptance of our need and realizing that we are the vehicle for that affirmation to other people. I'll write more about this at another time.
What I am saying is that if the members of the Session can find a way to care for one another through the practice of prayer, that you have a much better chance of becoming spiritual decision makers.
I know, I know, you have a lot of really important work to do. There are hard decisions to make. And you have very limited time. All true. But remember that you aren't that different from your middle school students. You need to affirm one another as brothers and sisters in Christ who need the grace of God to be effective servants as elders. This is why prayer is a practical matter of connection with one another and God.
If you have thoughts, a story to tell, someone to affirm or simply disagree, please say so. You can leave a comment or email me at questions-at-edbrenegar-dot-com.