When religion still bores me.
I met Rick for the first time the other night as he was a guest at a monthly committee meeting. Rick has energy, life, and passion. He opened his time by sharing a snapshot of his history, informing us with bright eyes and an even brighter smile that he’s a third-generation numbers person in the family financial planning business. His daughter is now in the biz, too. His future son-in-law, also a numbers guy, was seated beside him.
Rick inherited his vocation. I didn’t. Me? Religion? Faith? Pastoral leadership? Seriously? I didn’t know a vital God as a kid. I didn’t know an ever-present God as a teen or as a guy in my twenties. When I was 28 and my neighbor asked me to be a church deacon, whatever that was, I couldn’t think of a good reason to say no. I’m the circle when a square block is needed in the infant’s game. To this day, I’m the minister at the table or in the small group of clergy who doesn’t fit like the others. I don’t play it safe. I’m forward. Impulsive. Playful. Energized. Bold. I am not bored and will not be bored.
I grew up in a church where religion was a social obligation, not a thrill or a necessity.
If I heard anything about God, it was through scripture that I felt didn’t hold merit or relevancy. This isn’t a boo-hoo on the pastors in my past. If I had tried, I would have gotten something out of those sermons. But it didn’t matter. Not at the time. And certainly not to me.
Leopards don’t change their spots. Religion can still bore me when it’s not made relevant. Religion can still bore me when its repetitive, or not set free with the Spirit. When church people play in boxes that haven’t worked well in forty years? I call that sad. When people fail to hear or see God’s direction for the church’s future right in front of them? I find that crushing. Or when like Abram in Genesis 15, we call out how we want our blessings to unfold, or we try to maneuver God to our timetable? Egad. This is heartbreaking not only for us, but also for our God who does want to bless us as He did Abram.
Rick was blessed to see what he was walking into. Like Abram when he left his home in Genesis 12, I’m going in blind, but I now love what I see — an active, relatable, sometimes quiet but always present God who speaks, directs, inspires, and moves those who love Him.