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A Good Thing

The Open House at the Gathering Church last night was a good thing, a very good thing.  Everyone worked hard to make it happen and we had a great turn-out.  We had almost one guest for every person who has been involved.  Wouldn’t that be great if every church service had that kind of ratio?  Okay, that’s not so hard to do when you are small and just starting.  But, what I really liked is that there were visitors in every generation, all the way from kids up to retired folks.  And the interaction was great.

Another thing I really appreciate was seeing a few folks, who  just a couple of months ago had little use for church, were now hosting and serving others with the hope that others would experience God.  And it was fun.

Moments like last night simplify faith experience for me.  Enjoying God and enjoying people.  Oh, I’m not just talking out of my baby-boomer optimism and avoidance of suffering.  (I admit,  baby boomers think that the world exists to make us happy.  A close professor friend in the next generation is working on a thesis about how my generation has ruined the world.  We’re still close friends.) When we get close to God and close to people, we will suffer.  There’s too much in us that needs fixin’ not to.  However, when we are enjoying God and enjoying people, our suffering goes much better.  I know that many people act like they have to be miserable in order to be faithful.  They feel good about feeling so bad.  I’m not one of those.  Something about Peter’s descritption of “inexpressible joy,” makes me  think otherwise.

And I think that God likes to be enjoyed.  I know that people do.  But, I’m not so sure that one can focus on the enjoying part.  Maybe we can, but it seems either elusive if you try to look right at it, or worse, idolatrous if you make it ‘the thing’ of your spiritual life.  But, as far as a vital sign to check on to see how you’re doing with either God or people, I would certainly use the EQ – enjoyment quotient.  Rats, now that I put it that way, someone is going to want me to quantify it so that you can ‘test’ yourself.  You now want a way to figure out a score, huh?

Here’s the thing:  I don’t think that we improve our EQ by focusing on it, striving to have it.  I suspect that our EQ goes up when we stop doing other stuff that retards it, that just outright stomps on it – including, or especially testing ourselves. There’s a chill quality about enjoying God and enjoying people.  There’s a ‘stop your useless manipulations’ kind of thing that happens.  Stop trying to prove yourself.

Stop trying to earn God’s enjoyment of you.

Hmm . . . I think that I need to stop right there, let that sink in.  Bless you, God, that you enjoy us.

Comments

  1. Amazing how many people attended a new church in the middle of summer. We we’re discussing how it takes effort to be a part of a new church. It isn’t a spectator sport like belonging to a large established church can often be. Then again, Jesus did tell us to go make disciple of all nations and that sure sounds like a lot of work to me! I love to hear words like enjoyment or joy when referring to the love of God. I’ve been trained that “I am the only one that can make me happy.” Riding a roller coaster makes me happy. There’s almost no effort required on behalf and it is all for my own personal gratification. Joy is different. Being God sent make it infinite, unlike happiness and other earthly feelings. When you think of the most important things in this life: faith in the Lord, your spouse, your children, etc., happiness isn’t an accurate descriptive. Joy can include effort, challenges, happiness, disappointment and yet is still more fulfilling than mere happiness.