Since my last post, entitled “Two Friends—After the Election”, I have received, literally, hundreds of emails asking various questions about a host of topics. A few of them stood out---
Have you ever taken a spiritual gift assessment? If so, what are your spiritual gifts? I liked this question, because, yes, I have taken a spiritual gift assessment, and, no, no one has ever asked the results. So, “thank you”. My top three spiritual gifts (as noted by NETWORK) are Faith, Teaching and Leadership. I am “least gifted” in Mercy, Speaking in Tongues, and Craftsmanship. I am working to improve on two of the three.
What are you hobbies and interests? I have always secretly envied people who get this question, so I want to thank Beth from Wisconsin, who finally asked it. I am an avid golfer (10 handicap) and love pretty much every sport (even the ones he doesn’t understand—like Curling). I also love books, reading, movies, Meet the Press, and politics. And, I just mastered my DVR! But, more than anything, I love my girls (all of them--- included the tallest one who has been the love of my life for the past 20 years!).
What books have you read lately, and who are your favorite authors? I have read a lot of books lately and, when I finished the list, was surprised by some of them (You’ll see what I mean). But, here is what I have read in the last three months. :
Finding Our Way Again by Brian McLaren, His Excellency: A Life of George Washington by Joseph Ellis, The War Within by Bob Woodward, Deadly Viper Character Assassins by Marc Foster and Jud Wilhite, Paula Deen by Paula Deen (no, I am not kidding!), The Shack by Paul Young, The Language of Sex by Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham. 1776 and Truman by David McCullough (re-reads),
Now-- my favorite authors.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer--- he just amazes and humbles me.
Brennan Manning--- same as above, and, he changed the way I viewed the mission of the Church.
David McCullough--- anything he writes is “fine as wine”-- though I don’t condone drinking (the official pastor answer).
Lisa Samson--- she is the best thing since Cheeze Whiz, and I do condone the use of that.
“I read your evotion about the Election--who is YOUR favorite President-- AND, who do you consider to be the best President-- AND are you a Republican or a Democrat?” This was part of a long email exchange that involved several questions. David from Memphis, the author of the questions, knew I had a degree in Political Science and was a PoliSci nut. So, we had a great exchange. Okay--- answers to a few of the questions. I am an Independent who is either characterized as a Lincoln Republican or a Truman Democrat. Truman is my favorite President (and I believe one of the best). I believe Lincoln was the most significant. Both of these are open for debate.
And, finally, this next question really intrigued me.
What do you believe is the most important issue facing the Church today? Trying to be too relevant… I am one of the early sinners in the movement to make the Church “relevant”. The books Ragamuffin Gospel and Jesus in the Margins really changed the way I looked at the life and purpose of the Church. The Gospels are a story of unique, uncommon, exceptional intercession by the Creator of the Universe into the unbelievably common, unexceptional, imperfect Creation. This is big news! It doesn’t go without notice, and, it does not necessarily fit into the culture all the time. We are supposed to be different, to express a new point of reference that, ultimately, reconnects our roots to the One who “brung us” instead of making that One look more like us. Okay, so I like choruses, media and technology, but, to me, Holy Communion is still the best illustration ever used and still the best way for us, as insignificant as we are, to become significant for the world. It really all comes down to this for me-- Love Jesus, Love Like Jesus. The rest is textbook fodder and window dressing. I don’t necessarily want to be relevant; I just want to be His.
So, thanks for letting me share some of the questions I received over the past couple of weeks. I enjoy the dialog and the opportunity to think about things I don’t normally put into words.
Enjoy the Holidays.
And, remember-- Be Salt and Light--- You Matter!