Recently, I shared on the blog about the development and genesis of our upcoming Crash series, What a Waste: A Series on Suffering.
For me, this series is an example of God speaking in an undeniable way.
In 2008, a friend recommended a DVD of a talk by a favorite author of mine, Donald Miller. Don was teaching on the role of story in our lives and how story provides a framework for understanding meaning and purpose. The Scriptures validate this, from Don’s perspective. I was moved by the DVD and went on to purchase Don’s newest book, which explores this concept, entitled, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I went to see Don speak on his book tour this past fall. Don’s discussion of CONFLICT in our life story has challenged me to rethink some things.
For some time, I have been following the work of Rob Bell, a pastor and author from Michigan. This past fall, Rob released his latest book, Drops Like Stars. The book was a fairly quick read, but its theme of SUFFERING providing a context for art and creativity intrigued me. I have been chewing on it ever since and am excited to see Bell speak in Tempe next weekend.
When I was in college, a friend recommended that when I encountered someone who moved, inspired, or intrigued me, to explore the people who did the same thing for them. I followed this advice for the previous two people and others and found a common spark: the author and screenwriter Steven Pressfield. The Pressfield book that produced the most buzz among these people was entitled The War of Art. In this book, Pressfield outlines his thesis that RESISTANCE stops all artists from creating their work and that pushing through the RESISTANCE is necessary to do what you were created to do.
Finally, I applied the “who inspired them?” principle in late 2008 to some other mentors-at-a-distance and discovered the blog of Seth Godin. I have been reading Godin’s daily musings ever since, even reading two of his books. However, recently a friend of mine got a pre-release copy of newest book, Linchpin. I started getting texts from my friend. ”You HAVE to read this book.” ”I was just reading Linchpin and he is totally writing about you.” So, when my friend got a chance, she passed the book to me and I spent about three weeks moving through it, finishing it last weekend during a trip to Sedona. Godin’s chapter on RESTISTANCE (he and Pressfield are friends) included a discussion of what he refers to the LIZARD BRAIN, which Godin cites as the source for the FEAR and full-court press we experience mentally and otherwise when we begin to move in a new direction or launch a new project.
So, as I said in my earlier blog, “Ok God, I get it!” And I thought I did. Yet, as I was working on my talk for this upcoming Sunday both yesterday and today, I realized that I was growing more and more scared, easily distracted, fighting for control and safety, and struggling to accept this unwanted season and experience. I stared at my computer screen, wondering, “What will others think? How will they respond? Who will I get in trouble with?” Now, I realize these questions may not be rational, logical, or realistic. But those realities do not invalidate my experience or emotions.
These conversations I am having (that Maxie and I and others hope to spark through Crash services starting this Sunday) are ones where I think I have a theoretical grasp on certain things, but I am just beginning to know by experience. And honestly, I don’t know them completely. I am scared to teach things that I haven’t lived fully. Yet, more than any other message or series we have done since June 2006, I am confident this is where God is leading us and I am here, ready to share what He is showing me and to create a space where people can…
Well, let me put it this way. God is using Crash to transform people. While discussing how this is happening in the life of one specific person who is a part of that community, one of my friends put it this way when describing her friend. “She is going to be okay, but she is opening up about some tough life experiences. This is one more example of the CRASH community giving people a place to face life and heal. This IS church.”