Tag Archives: church people

nakedpastor’s No-Policy Policy

Edited for space from nakedpastor’s blog on October 23rd:

“I refuse to concoct plans for people’s lives. I refuse to concoct a plan for the life of my church. I realize I’m going against the flow, like a salmon swimming up an impossible gush of watery onslaughts. But I just won’t do it. So fire me!

I used to do it. I used to pray and wait and then articulate the vision and set out a one, three and five year plan with great gusto and with leadership and congregational support and fanfare. But I have stopped because I believe it destroys, in a violently sinister way, the lives of people and the life of a community. It’s presumptuous and cruel and inhumane. I have been on the receiving end of this visionary kind of program and I will no longer have any part of it. I realize how tantalizing, how dizzyingly intoxicating visionary thinking and purpose-driven living can be. It tastes good, but it’s poison…

…One…woman visited me earlier today and says that she can smell someone’s plan for her life way down the road and avoids it like the plague because she sees it as soul-destroying. I think that is radically rebellious but radically healthy.  Another salmon.”

I used to be paid to be the person telling everyone in the local church what God’s plan was for their lives.  When you can talk the spiritual lingo, it doesn’t take much to heap burdensome loads on people’s backs.  Being a Pharisee is the easiest thing in the world.  If some one wasn’t participating, at least I could get them feeling really guilty about it.  Yep.  That was my “job.”

I am on the other end now, church-wise.  And I am pondering nakedpastor’s comment, “…it destroys, in a violently sinister way, the lives of people and the life of a community…” and thinking about what we lose when we try to fit a big bunch of talented, gifted, hurting and whole people into a one-year plan – let alone a 5-year program.  Don’t we miss out on something by not allowing the whole kit-and-caboodle to grow and interact, to become and add on to in an organic, natural way?  What if something extraordinary is about to happen, but we are so closely following the “plan” we miss it?

Structure and order are my life.  But I am wondering, in even my own ministry: how much is too much?  When is my soul destroyed by living in a plan God actually never had for me?

I hate being trendy in church, but I also fall prey to every Willow Creek-Saddleback-Catalyst-John Maxwell-Hillsong-Church marketing sucks-Relevant-We’re not like other churches (but we really are)-Church Planting 101-Purpose Driven-Mars Hill-Rob Bell-Try to be hip like Blue like Jazz river-of-thought.  And so do lots of churches and ministries.  

A friend of mine was recently invited to an exciting “all-new and improved” church plant.  She accidentally went to the wrong school where another church was meeting.  But the following week, when she got to the right school (right down the street) of the church she had actually been invited to, the signage was the same, the claims were the same, they sang the same songs and even the pastors and their wives (carefully selected as planter-types) looked kinda the same.  Why?  Because even church planting has been stripped down to a science, a checklist of what to do and when and how.

Are we destroying the people in our care?  Are we more of an organization than a living, breathing organism?  Are we missing the incredible potential of the church to be the multi-faceted, brilliantly dazzling glory of God on earth by all doing the same things, one church to the next, putting people into the same molds?

What if?…Jeanie (I love the Bride, love the church, but I am recovering from churchaholism)

“Do churches do to people what zoos do to animals?”

That post title, my friends, was just one of the amazing “thought-questions”posed  in Mark Batterson’s upcoming tome.

I put aside both of the books I had been reading and skipped over the one I was suppose to start next to read a pre-released copy of Batterson’s Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God.    Once I picked it up for a quick perusal, I was hooked.

He explains the title:

Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit–An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’ The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacrilegious, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit through life. I think the Celtic Christians were on to something…

The  author contrasts animals he got to observe living wild and free while in the Galapagos Islands (which he described as “Edenic” and a place that caused him to  feel a great affinity to Adam)  in contrast to those he was observing in a zoo a couple of months later.   No matter how you slice it, those zoo  animals are caged.   The whole book plays off the premise that we live our lives in 6  “cages”:  responsibility (where God-passions get buried beneath day-to-day living), routine (following our plans, never seeing another way), assumptions (those truths you begin to believe such as I could never…, I can’t…, I’m not…when you are living from your left-brain memory rather than your right-brain imagination).   Then there are the cages of guilt (defeat over all our  past sin and missteps), failure (doesn’t this one stink?? – trying and failing stops us from ever trying again), and finally the cage of fear (living life on the defense rather than the offense)  and goes on to explore both Biblical and modern-day  people who  were able to break  free of those confines.

Each chapter is complete and very-good-sermon-like, but  Mark Batterson  ties them all very well together as he leads us on the chase for the Wild Goose, living a life of adventure by the leading of the Holy Spirit.  

It’s an easy and quick read, with great humor, some interesting character study  and poignant story-telling.   It’s kind of like Eldridge’s  Journey of Desire  or The Sacred Romance, but waaaaaaay shorter and more quickly to the point.   He writes in a relaxing, conversational way that was not only engaging for the reading, but seemed to invite me into prayer as I read.   That is probably what surprised me the most: how much I was drawn into an awareness of the Presence and His leading as I was reading.    Batterson really had a way of posing thoughtful questions that immediately caused me to want to hear from God on the issue or confess and repent or ask for an answer or pray a commitment or something.   I prayed my way through most of the book.     Laughed and cried, too.

In that regard, I wholly recommend this book.   It isn’t about earth-shattering new revelation necessarily, but it is a call to that which the Spirit of God speaks to us constantly and we often ignore –  due to life’s “cages.”   That is why it rings so true, I guess, and why my heart took a fancy to the book, the idea and the call to chase the Wild Goose.   http://chasethegoose.com

Read it!…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:   I am part of something bigger and more important than me: the cause of Christ for this generation.  


We try to make God fit within the confines of our cerebral cortex.   We try to reduce the will of God to the logical limits of our left brain.   But the will of God is neither logical   nor linear.   It is downright confusing and complicated.   p.2

A part of us feels as if something is spiritually wrong with us when we experience circumstantial uncertainty…But [it] goes by another name: adventure.   p. 2

inverted Christianity.   Instead of following the Spirit, we invite the Spirit to follow us. p. 4

…as I looked through the protective Plexiglas window at a four-hundred-pound caged gorilla: I wonder if churches do to people what zoos do to animals. p. 5

Just like the rich young ruler, we have a choice to make…We can stay in our cage, end up with everything and realize it amounts to nothing.   Or we can come out of our cage and chase the Wild Goose.   p. 10

Chapter Two: Goose Bumps p. 15

A few years ago I figured out how I want to die.   p. 15

But I do want to die doing what I love.   I am determined to pursue God-ordained passions until the day I die.   p. 16

Start praying.   Prayer makes us spiritually fertile.   And the more we pray, the more passionate we become.   Our convictions grow stronger and our dreams grow bigger.   p. 26

When Christianity turns into a noun, it becomes a turnoff.   Christianity was always intended to be a verb.   p. 29

I don’t want to do things I am capable of doing.   Why?   Because then I can take credit for them.   I want to see God do things in me and through me that I am absolutely incapable of so I can’t possibly take credit for them.   p. 35

Concerning Nehemiah:   If you are faithful in Babylon, God will bless you in Jerusalem.   p. 40

Have you ever experienced an epiphany – a moment when God unexpectedly and unforgettably invaded the monotony of your life…The Celtic Christians referred to these kinds of moments – moments when heaven and earth seem to touch – as thin places.   Natural and supernatural worlds collide.   Creation meets creator.   Sin meets grace.   Routine meets the Wild Goose.   p. 46

One name for God in Rabbinical literature is The Place.   p. 47

Altars help us remember what God doesn’t want us to forget.   They give us a sacred place to go back to.   p. 48

change of place + change of pace = change of perspective   p. 50

I know from experience that you can do the work of God at a pace that destroys the work of God in you.   p. 53

Sabbath… creates a holy margin in our lives…The word Sabbath means “to catch one’s breath.”   p. 54

Hurry kills everything from compassion to creativity.   p. 57

We need to quit praying out of memory and start praying out of imagination.   p. 60

Has God ever called you to throw something down?   Something in which you find your security or put your identity?   It’s awfully hard to let go, isn’t it?   It feels like you are jeopardizing your future.   And it feels like you could lose what is most important to you.   But that is when you discover who you really are.   p. 65

You have to be willing to let go of an old identity in order to take on a new identity.   p. 66

Pride is offended when assumptions are challenged.   Humility welcomes the challenge because the desire to know God is greater than the need to be right.   p. 75

It’s never too late to become who you might have been.   p. 79