I Cry For Transformation!

ec.gifLisa and I took our much-needed weekend and went to a nearby city, Moncton. We took our daughter Casile and a young woman who’s staying with us right now… Melissa. We had a wonderful time. I didn’t take my computer. I still can’t believe it, since my computer plays a pretty major role in my life with blogging, my writing, cartooning, my art on ebay, and keeping in touch with all in my sphere through facebook. It gave me space to just enjoy life and love. I also did some important thinking.

I had an experience at once surprising and profound. We bought tickets into Butterfly World. I just thought it would be interesting to see some butterflies. We bought our tickets and entered the climate-controlled spherical building, filled with vegetation, water fountains, and of course, butterflies. Hundreds of them! The astounding array of colors and sizes and flight patterns and behaviors absolutely floored me. I immediately started crying. I admit it. I was embarrassed so I kept pretty much to myself. Lisa found me sitting on a bench, my eyes filled with tears and my heart ready to burst. I can’t explain why it happened except that I was in love with these gentle creatures and their profound and simple beauty, but also their incredible transformation. They flew all around me, landed on me, and filled my eyes with childlike wonder. It was one of the most emotional and spiritual moments I can remember having.

My mind was filled with the urgency of change. The wonder of transformation. The beauty of a new creation. The magnificence of metamorphosis. There were some caterpillars and chrysalides hanging in a special chamber. How do those turn into these? From these crawling helpless or dead-looking things to these free-flying beautiful creatures. I look for this same thing in my own life, the life of those I love, and all the people of the world. I look for this in my church and the whole church. I know what I say is offensive to many people. But I’m tired of painting the old with new paint, of gluing fake wings on the old shell, of rearranging the parts to a more interesting looking but mangled corpse. It’s time for new life! Liberation now!

I decided to come back and be more naked, more blunt, more honest, and more direct. I’m not telling anybody to do anything. I don’t condemn anyone. I just want to be clear: I think I know a way to prevent pastors from burning out. I think I know a way for people to gather with authenticity and joy. I think I know a way to prevent churches from becoming dead reminders. I think I know a way for us to be free, and free indeed. So stay tuned.

The fine art photograph was taken by my daughter Casile (right) and is of her and her friend Emily.

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  • Dany

    Wow, this blog is truly amazing!

  • we visited a butterfly house a few years ago at callaway gardens in georgia. i agree, it is truly a sight to behold and comprehend. i could have happily stayed in there for hours. the variety…the colors…the detail…all so amazingly, equisitely beautiful.

    thanks for sharing your experience…brought back pleasant memories.

    i’m listening to old rich mullins songs on rhapsody…fitting soundtrack.

  • ttm

    Your butterfly narrative brought back memories of a trip to South America several years ago. We visited Iguazu Falls and were mesmerized by the many waterfalls, the now-there-now-gone rainbows, and what seemed like thousands of variations of butterflies!

    Post divorce, I’ve spun many memories into tight cocoons and tucked them away beyond the grasp of consciousness. Thank you for shaking and waking this one up. The memory of the amazing beauty of that day with my then-intact family isn’t so painful anymore. Now, having worked through most of the pain, I can just remember the incredible beauty and the butterflies tickling my skin and my imagination.

  • i haven’t read such a beautiful thing in a long time. it’s filled with anticipation and a sense of progressing to a better place. i think i can best relate to the catepillar right now.

    i’m glad you had this experience, i hope it stays with you always.

  • “I think I know a way to prevent churches from becoming dead reminders. I think I know a way for us to be free, and free indeed. So stay tuned.”

    Staying tuned! JL

  • Beautiful visual…I’ll stay tuned!

  • “From these crawling helpless or dead-looking things to these free-flying beautiful creatures. I look for this same thing in my own life, the life of those I love, and all the people of the world. I look for this in my church and the whole church. ” I wonder if sometimes this is how God sees as just before he imparts wisdom and hopes we hear it. I often find God in my garden and all that is there. Staying tuned- what a great experience.

  • beautiful

  • Oh God, I hope you’re right about what you think you know. I’ve been pretty burned out and I’m in a state of grrrr about my entire ‘denomination’ right now.
    (Smiling about your butterfly encounter though)!

  • Ya man. Good stuff. praise Him! May we be transformed: renewed, rejuvanted, restored, revitalized, and renovated for His kingdom.

    …Anticipating future posts


  • Fred

    I’m confused. The desire to change? Or “just be”? Which is it?

  • I really missed you over the weekend. More importantly, I am glad for the renewal you felt and that you were able to be completely transparent. Thank you for sharing your experience with us here.

  • oh fred, please don’t do this, please don’t diminish this post. it’s beautiful, it’s hopeful, it’s sweet, it’s encouraging, it’s what i need…..just let it be.

  • ttm

    Fred, are you a Southern Baptist? ;^)

    (To my knowledge, there are no Biblical imperatives to avoid butterfly stories. Nor are there any Biblical mandates to doctrinally define them! THANK GOD!! We can just let them be…..) 🙂

  • jean

    I have changed my plans today …………I will take someone I love who is having a very hard time to the butterfly house. Pray that God will meet us there and bring hope and healing.

  • Fred

    I do believe in change. I do believe in metamorphosis. I’ve just heard so much that seems to be against the need for change on this blog that this post really confused me.

  • I think (though I could be wrong), that Dave’s point on this blog is that people will change on their own without fancy church programs, without rules and regulations, without assigned roles, etc… Love a person, accept them as they are, support them where they are at irregardless of their flawed or broken ways…leave the judging to God and thru Jesus he will work on the individual and lead them to their own personal freedom.

  • If you’re beating your wife, you better change. But how? Why? Do you do this by locking her or yourself away? Do you do this by drugging yourself? Or do you begin by looking at your violence, but analyzing it, recognizing it? Only in this way may your violence begin to dissolve. The way religion does it is by cloaking it with righteous attitudes and behavior. Some of the most repulsive violence is of this kind: candy-coated with religion and spirituality. We are afraid to face the demon itself, to name it, and thereby disarming it. So I do believe in change, but not the kind endorsed by almost everyone.

  • Fred

    nakedpastor–I agree, except when you say “the kind endorsed by almost everyone.” I think people pursue the “change of appearance” because that’s all they know HOW to do. Real change is difficult. Maybe impossible. Except for God. The change God makes MUST happen. All the time. With that, I’m with you 100%.

  • be transformed by the renewing of your mind. we WILL NOT change our minds. change your mind, and transforming comes.

  • Fred

    Yes. How do you renew your mind?