Friday, March 6, 2009

My Response

Hey Cody,

Sean-Martin and I remember going to a church which seemed the quintessential example of this. (We lasted a while but ultimately had to bail.) When I look back, the thing that is most disconcerting to me is the way that pastor who, for all intents and purposes WAS the church, was actually the only one allowed to DEFINE what ministry even was, how it should be implemented, who should implement it, yada, yada, yada...

The man was in love with his programs, and he was the one who decided whether or not they were working. I've never been to a place that browbeat a congregation like that into working so many programs. This guy just wore people OUT, starting with his wife. His wife was and still IS a big supporter, because that's what Godly women do, I guess. Anyone who questioned him was deemed UNgodly--aka ME. He told me that I hadn't been "discipled" as far as he could see and that I needed to attend one of his discipleship classes.

You remember Bible college, Cody? Remember Old Testament Survey? Did you NOT get choked up when you stood at that burning bush and realized that "I AM" STILL IS? I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure if my professor had given an altar call, I'd have gone forward! FOR SURE! Bible college rocked. It was truly the place of my birth.

There are a million little pieces of lives weaved together, equipped and commissioned to be Christ on this earth and to further God's kingdom right here--right now. What a slap in the face of the Holy Spirit who has--with the power of a mighty, rushing wind--led, comforted, taught, admonished, healed, prepared, AND DISCIPLED all of us who are willing to be about our Father's business. I would like to say, "So what if some pastor isn't secure enough within himself to 'Let go and let God...'" But people get sucked into this. People get burned out (and subsequently BLAMED) from implementing all these programs and meetings and Sunday school and bringing the donuts and setting up the chairs and folding the bulletins. Does anybody really get saved over a Boston creme and a cup of Maxwell House? Really?

C'mon, people! Put your arms around somebody! Make someone a lasagna! Babysit for free! Pop somebody five bucks! Feed, clothe, visit. Ministry is JUST not that complicated! It doesn't necessarily have to occur underneath that steeple. Our silly, little efforts to make it harder than it really is is only a ploy to elevate ourselves in this crazy hierarchy of importance in a social network of knuckleheads! Put the donuts down, folks! Step away from the bulletins! Just remember what Christ has done for you, and go do it for other people. It doesn't have to be during the ten o'clock hour on Sunday morning. In fact, just to be different, make sure it's on a Thursday at, like, five! Get crazy! Be creative! Act like one of those teenagers Jesus chose!

Cody, I'm posting your blog post on my blog and my response. I'd like to get MY social network of knuckleheads in on this discussion too! :)

Love you, brother. Congratulations on getting all those funds raised for your trip! Can't WAIT for all the great writing that is going to come out of THAT!

Take care of yourself--and somebody else!
Daisy Rain


Daisy Martin said...

OK. So, I'm posting on myself. How audacious is that? I just want to step an itty bitty little bit backwards and say I'm not trying to totally bag on the people who bring the donuts and fold the bulletins. Sunday School is fine. Life-changing things DO OCCUR on Sunday mornings at church--ALL THE TIME! Half of the people who are going to read this ARE pastors, and I don't want anybody thinking I'm trouncing around on what God has called you to do. So, let me clarify. I described a very toxic environment that, I believe, was more oppressive than freeing. Lots of hurt. Lots of hurt. I just want to say, I DO go to church. I just don't "minister" there. And I'm not going to be made to feel "less than" because I opt to minister somewhere else, especially when I think that should be the GOAL of a church is to have its congregation go out from that place and be ministers. I have to call a spade a spade when the emphasis is ONLY to minister there on Sunday mornings. I hope people can hear my heart on this. I am thankful for the people who DO minister there, because from that, I benefit. I have been known to grab a donut or two off the platter, and I read the bulletins in their entirety. Thank you to those people who take care of those things. BUT, if and when you feel you need to STOP doing those things or, perhaps, do something else outside of that building, don't let anyone bully you or guilt you into continuing to do something you're not about doing.

That's all I'm saying.

I hope you understand.

Daisy Rain

Barryboat said...

This is a nice topic. A Lot of people do leave their faith in the building on Sunday. I've noticed this too. The real ministry is out in the world, with people you meet every day. There is certainly a good reason to attend church, however and get plugged-in...this is where we learn the, but the practical everyday showing the love of Jesus within us is the most important way we shine. We also have to be compassionate towards other believers and how they learn and worship etc. We also need to be tolerant of the way other Christians practice their faith.

Cody Stauffer said...

Hey- commenting on your self? You ARE audacious! Just kidding. You are right to point out that some people are putting their talents to good use in traditional settings. More power to them, I say. But at the same time, there has to be an area "out there" that I think they can be used in as well. It's the whole "love your neighbor" thing, you know, because neighbors by definition aren't in the same place you are- you have to go to them. But, I too don't want to undermine the service people do for each other on Sundays or whenever. Thanks for reminding me of that!

Rissa said...

Miss Daisy,
I completely agree. I'm not familiar with some of the things you mentioned because, of course, I'm not the same religion you are, but one thing's definitely for sure... We're both Christians and we both believe we have a loving Savior who died for us. For those of you who don't know, I'm Mormon and have come across people (both members of my church and those who are not) who have this idea in their mind that Sunday is "their day to serve others and to serve the Lord." I've never really been to any other church, but I know that this idea of only serving one day a week is completely opposite of what my church, and I would think, any church that follows the Savior's example would teach. I mean, think of Christ. His ENTIRE life was based on the principle of service. Serving His Father and serving His brothers and sisters. Each day brought new opportunities to serve, and He would not just sit and wait for people to ask for help. Instead, He would, search diligently for opportunities to serve. Some of these examples of service include healing the sick, giving the blind their sight, raising the dead, dying on the cross. And we must always remember the greatest example of all, suffering for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He bled from every pore and endured pain beyond comprehension.

I absolutely love this quote. It was in a talk given by our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, recently. "As I look at all of you, I see angels. Angels in waiting. Waiting for the right moment to assist our Father in lifting and helping one of His children who is in need. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland remarked in conference… When we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day." "Always remember, you never know whose angel you are supposed to be." -Thomas S. Monson

I hope and pray to our Heavenly Father that the whole world will find it in their hearts to live a more Christ-like life and follow His example. An example of love, integrity, faith, and selfless service. He loves us more than we can possibly comprehend, He knows EXACTLY what we're going through, and all He wants from us is to love our brothers and sisters as He loves us. After all the suffering He has gone through, and after all He has given us, I don't think that is too much to ask.