I confess that I was a lousy blogger last week because I was out of town with my family. I confess that instead of reading the news and trying to post interesting thoughts and ideas at Paperback Theology, I went snow skiing with my family instead, and it was about as good as it gets.
I confess that I think snow skiing was the perfect vacation in this busy time of year for a couple of reasons. First, it isolated me and my family a little bit. In the long car ride, in the place we stayed, and in our daily activities we spent a ton of time together just the four of us without any outside contingencies vying for my attention. The other reason is that skiing is immediate. It demands your full attention. Skiing forces me to live in the moment. Even on lift rides there’s so much to see and talk about that I never felt drawn to slip back into work mode. Internet was spotty, cell coverage was non-existent which helped. I was in the sticks couldn’t re-engage with work in the time I had designated to be with my family. It’s amazing to me how much relational ground we can gain as parents through prolonged engagement with our kids outside of our normal routines. I’d go again in a week if I could.
I confess that we cancelled church yesterday for the first time ever. We had our third major snowstorm overnight – I think we’ve had over 30 inches of snow at my house in the past 6 weeks – and it seemed like it just wasn’t safe for people to come out in the storm. I confess that I really missed being with our community & felt restless and even kind of sad all morning on Sunday. I confess that it was a great reminder of how much I crave connection with the body of Christ, and how central our Sunday worship is for the life of a church.
I confess that my internal response to cancelling worship reaffirmed something in me: I think the recent trend toward de-emphasizing a the weekly gathering of the church for public worship, word, and sacrament is not healthy for the body. This trend is a big part of a new strategy/model for organizing the common life of a church that is being proliferated among the house-church folks & missional community makers. This Sunday reinforced why I think this is a mistake, and why I’ll remain critical of it. I think these pragmatic models are based upon a poor ecclesiology & a revisionist version of early church history (that they only met in houses and gathering everyone for worship was not important). I confession that I still believe in the holy catholic church and the communion of the saints. Sunday worship as a church is not optional, it is essential.
I confess that the one bright-side of cancelling church is that my Palm Sunday message for 2014 is all prepped and ready to go.
I confess that Tony Stewart is being a baby & that although he loves to dish it out, he can’t take it.
I confess that Tom Cruise creeps me out. I confess that it’s to do with the Scientology.
I confess that I am a Jayhawk fan and LaSalle Explorers fan for the remainder of the College Basketball season.
I confess that Holy Week will be a challenge to my energy levels and my ability to focus and get things done. I confess that I’m worried about the upcoming week.
I confess that I’m working at Panera this morning. There’s a 20-something hipster with skinny-jeans, thick glasses & headphones hanging out here today as well. He keeps going outside for a smoke & dancing to the music on his iphone. I confess that I’m loving watching him groove. He’s totally uninhibited. He’s got a great style, he’s smoking his camel’s and dancing like he can’t contain himself & it’s a thing of beauty. I confess that when I see someone else living joyfully, I stare… it’s like a contact high.
I confess that the time away with my family as me thinking about the difference between perfection and goodness. Our time together as a family wasn’t perfect. We fought now and then. I was petty and stupid sometimes. The kids weren’t always under perfect control – everybody had their moments. Vacation was not perfect, but it was good – deep down good, soul-stirring good. As a life-long perfectionist, I’m trying to lean into the good. The good is where it’s at – that’s where all the power is. The pursuit of perfection will typically work against the good and if that pursuit becomes absolute, it will destroy the good.
I confess that I’m quitting my Daily Office practice for Holy Week this year and immersing myself in the gospels. For my 4 times daily prayers I’ll just be reading the gospels. I’m going to attempt to ready through all four this week – we’ll see how it goes.
Okay friends, I made my confession. Now you make yours!