Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wow, it's been way too long . . .

Here's something I wrote yesterday to share at a meeting with the BIC bishops:

I was at a conference last week and suddenly I realized why I have often felt so drained over the last year or so, why I so desperately needed refreshment:

I am a religious insider.

In the three years that I’ve been out of college, I have worked in communications for three different Christian organizations, which means I’ve not only been responsible for handling the Word of God, but also the message of each organization I’ve worked for. I’ve been privy to a lot of “inside” information, and I’ve watched how leaders and followers alike conduct themselves.

It’s easy when you’re a religious insider to become callous toward other believers; to be hard of hearing when it comes to the still, small voice of God; and to read the most powerful portions of Scripture without being moved. And I have to say . . . that’s kind of where I’ve been.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with being a religious insider—it is a privilege, an awesome responsibility—but the problem is, when you’re making your living with the Gospel, any frustrations that you face, any apathy that develops as a result of your job will negatively impact your faith. Unless, that is, you’re careful.

And although it seems a little late in the game for me to be coming to this realization (after all, I am leaving in July), I do need to be careful to think of my job as a ministry, to be sure that I am refreshed enough by God and others to share and shape the wisdom that we publish in denominational communications. I need to be refreshed enough by God that when people at work disappoint me, I don’t become hardened against them as spiritual leaders. I need to be refreshed enough by God that the busyness, connectedness, and the celebrity that make up the lives of religious insiders—that I would count all these things as loss. Because without my faith in Christ, that’s exactly what they are.

I have come to the realization that, being a religious insider (as all of you are), I have an especially great need for God’s refreshing power. Because without it, I could not only be empty of wisdom to share with others; I could lose my faith altogether.

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