Sunday, January 09, 2005

Over Coffee

Almost every Saturday morning I meet my sister, Fairy, for coffee. I enjoy this more than I could possibly say. Our lives are more parallel now than they've ever been. We talk about a million things but recurring themes are about the health and relationships in our personal, work, married and spiritual lives. Every week we are battling some new (or same-old) issue in these areas. How does our culture dictate or define these areas of our lives? How do we maintain control, faith or perseverance? Why are we so tired and have so few friends? Etc.

The topic of the next SPS study is Decay. This is a topic I’ve been exploring since April 2001. Fairy and I (FaI) have discussed it several times. I don’t have a SPS definition for Decay yet but I’d say it is the state of our existence (some might say “sin nature”; “in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” Rom 5:12). When FaI try to get to the heart of some of our difficulties and struggles, we often find ourselves discussing decay. Now I’m generalizing so don’t extrapolate too much. I firmly believe in personal responsibility and accountability (choice). When you are served decay how should you respond? How do you respond?

My sister and I have decided to collaborate on this topic and I will be using this blog for our working notes. Along with what decay is and how we deal with it, there will probably be discussions about our postmodern culture, relationships and how we do church – or whatever it is we discuss over coffee that day. As a bonus, maybe it will also be provocative for you and give you an interest in the next SoulPerSuit.

Today, FaI were all over the board but non-romantic relationships were a common thread. Why do we avoid relationships? It’s fascinating, really. If you were to ask anyone I’m sure they would say they want relationships and that they, in fact, are lonely and sad that they don’t have more ‘friends’. We didn’t conclude anything unique. We avoid relationships out of fear or we fail because of the lack of opportunity, which is to say we’re too busy.

Let’s ask another question. If you are going to serve or minister to your fellow man, do you have to have relationship with him (i.e. personal knowledge or contact) or does relationship partly the definition of service? I believe that it is.

So what is service without relationship? A program, a commodity, an assembly line or just plain busyness.

One of the biggest complaints from women today are that they are too busy or that they’re always tired (same thing). One of the common laments is the lack of relationship. Our busyness is a way of avoiding relationships! Do you see how we’re going in circles here?

Relationships are more important than programs. That includes the youth program, the women’s program, the men’s program, or a million other things we consider “good” or “godly”. 3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Cor 13:3 We might use these programs to attract those we want to serve but it should be a means to an end, not the end itself. People want relationships. If we simply serve a buffet of programs what prevents them from going to another buffet? A better program? No, a relationship.

And if all this busyness is preventing us from having relationships with each other, what do you think it's doing to our relationship with God? Now you can extrapolate.


Dena said...

" When you are served decay how should you respond? How do you respond?"

In the devine/decay/worship card project previously I could come up with several thoughts of decay. Although I didn't choose devine/decay, the two areas have stayed on my mind.
I didn't see my decay as being a wide-eyed, chosen response to anything specific...I will remember this in question form because it seems to have more impact to me. thanks.

Erin said...

I'm excited to see my friends are still chinking away at this topic of Decay and Divine.
I will never fully slough the decay around and in me until that great day when ETERNITY begins. And I'll never fully understand divine until... ETERNITY begins. Fascinating how we will fully escape the one and completely enter the other at the exact same moment!

Chink, chink, chink. That's the sound of following hard after the Lord. The sound of breaking the shackles of decay, and the sound of mining for the mystery and glory of the divine.