Sunday, June 5, 2011

I Do So Love It...

Welcome to my new Summertime blog layout.  More color, more pizazz and most importantly, a baseball background!  Enjoy!

"I love it.  God help me I do love it so.  I love it more than my life."    -Gen. George Patton

If you are not familiar with the movie Patton then you may not know what the good General was speaking of when he made that statement.  He was not talking about family, country or church.  He was speaking of war.  As a life-long pacifist, I cannot fathom how anyone could make such a statement.  But over the last few days the quote kept coming back to me as I realized that I too have a love that is difficult to understand.  It is dark and often sinister and creates more issues that it will ever solve.  But God help me, I love it...

I'm talking about church politics.  I don't think I really realized it before this week, but there is something about discussing the issues of the church that makes my heart pound and my mind race.  There is something about seeking answers to long standing problems inside the church structure that increases my passion for Jesus.  These are issues that divide the church, that keep us from living out our mission as laid out by Jesus, and that cause turmoil at every turn.  But God help me. I do so love the discussions.

In the 4 years since I last worked for a church I am not sure I had been part of any discussions of church politics with anyone other than my wife.  She tolerates me on the subject but has no real interest herself.  So when the opportunity came over the past few days to sit down with old friends who also happen to be Pastors and talk about the things going on at the annual meeting of the Florida Conference of United Methodists and chat, the subject turned to some of the issues they were facing.  And to my great surprise, I found myself feeling more alive than I have felt in a long time.  The sharing of ideas and concerns just made me giddy.  The expressions of love for Jesus and the people of the church made me remember why I spent 28 years in ministry.  There was so much I had been missing.  I LOVED discussing what the church needed to do to be more inclusive and love the way Jesus taught us to love.  I LOVED sitting around my office brainstorming ways to make church more relevant to the students I loved so much. I LOVED coming up with worship elements that we knew would never be used just to push the boundaries of our worship planners.  Whether it was thinking of ways to motivate a senior pastor or to get the older folks on the Finance Committee to part with a penny, I LOVED those discussions. I LOVED dreaming big honkin' dreams and praying big honkin' prayers because I loved working as a team to make our church all that God called us to be.   And as I discovered this week, I miss all of that terribly- because those conversations always made me feel like I was working to be part of a solution.

My opinion and input on these kinds of issues has not been in demand much lately, and I have  (for the most part)  kept my mouth shut, thinking my sin had cost me the right to have a say in the future of the church.  Today that ends.  I still want to be a part of the solution, and it will require much more of me than writing this blog.  I am going to find a way to use my experience and knowledge to help the church rise up and be the people Jesus calls us to be.  I am going to initiate conversations that need to happen, even if they are not popular.  What are they going to do- fire me?  I have a new freedom and a new responsibility to get back in the game.  And I can't wait to get started!!!  While others might run from such discussion, I crave it.  Despite all of my flaws (and those of the church), I am called to serve the church of Jesus Christ.  And God help me, I do so love it...

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous6/06/2011

    Awesome post Carl! I have to say i was a little worried when you said "I love church politics." My brief stint in a "regular" church (as oppose to the church plant I've been for the past three years) taught me that church politics was filled with petty people trying to show how impressive and powerful they were... especially the ones who weren't. But what you're talking about is something very different, and something I think could make church politics a whole lot more palatable. :-) Have fun speaking your mind!

  2. Thank you my friend. I intend to!


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