Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wednesday thoughts about Rob Bell and Velvet Elvis

Over at revgalblogpals, they have been in a book discussion over the book Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. The thing that we related to the most was his chapter on burnout and trying to be "SuperPastor". I know this struggle, I have struggled with thinking I had to be super woman, super pastor, and tried to do it, and burned out trying to do it myself. We aren't called to be superhuman. We are called to be human, after all we are human beings. Okay so I am preaching to the choir, myself, and maybe I need to keep hearing and reading it.

I am just at this place in the book. I keep getting interrupted in my readings by the munchkins. But I will say it is good interruptions. I had read this before in an excerpt Rob Bell wrote for Chritianity Today, called the The Storage Room Meltdown.
Here is what he had to say: "I could feel my car keys in my pocket, and all I could think about was how far away I could be by 11 a.m. How much gas was in the tank? How fast could I drive?

Sitting on a chair in a storage room, I could hear the worship space filling up with people, and all I wanted to do was leave. What do you do when you're pastor of a church, it's Sunday morning, people are finding their seats, you're scheduled to preach, and you realize you have nothing to say? How did it come to this? It started out so great … One minute you have these ideas about how it could be, and the next minute you're leading this exploding church/event/monster."

He goes on to say: "We were growing. House churches were springing up, partnerships were beginning with other churches around the world, and people who had never been a part of a church were finding a home. Two years into it, around 10,000 people were coming to the three gatherings on Sundays. In the middle of all this chaos was me, superpastor, doing weddings and funerals and giving spiritual direction and going to meetings and teaching and dealing with crises and visiting people in prison and at the hospital. It was happening so fast. One minute you have these ideas about how it could be, and the next minute you are leading this exploding church/event/monster. I tell you all this because there's a dark side. It's one thing to be an intern with dreams about how church should be. It's another thing to be the 30-year-old pastor of a massive church. And that is why I was sitting there thinking about how far I could be by 11 a.m. I escaped to the storage closet to be alone. I was moments away from leaving the whole thing. I just couldn't do it anymore. People were asking me to write books on how to grow a progressive young church, and I wasn't even sure I was a Christian anymore. I didn't know if I wanted to be a Christian anymore. I was exhausted. Full of doubt. I had nothing more to say.
And so I sat there with my keys in my hand, turning them over and over, hearing the room getting louder and louder and more and more full. At that moment I made some decisions. Because without pain, we don't change, do we? but I realized that day that things were wrong with the whole way I was living my life. If I didn't change, I was not going to make it. In that abyss I broke and got help … because it's only when you hit bottom and are desperate enough that things start to get better. This breakdown, of course, left me with difficult decisions to make.
This breakdown, of course, left me with difficult decisions to make. Mars Hill was alive and people were being transformed. Who would leave all that? I decided to be honest about my journey, and if people wanted to come along, great. But I was still going to have to take a new path. And a new journey began, one that has been very, very painful. And very, very freeing.
It was during this period that I learned that I have a soul."

Well he says more, and I'll be glad to share the article with you or you can read the chapter in the book. Its a good chapter. I think whether you are a Pastor who is planting a church, or is pastoring a mega church or a little church, somewhere you are going to get to this place in your life, your ministry. And if you seek the help you need, change your path, you too will learn you have a soul, but you will have to face and feel the pain. I would say that some days, I am still facing and feeling the pain, and when I do, I realize, I have gotten off the path, or am having to look at another shadow part of myself.

Here is the Nooma for the day. It is a Nooma we could all use. It is one I can especially use. The Psalmist wrote, "Be still, and know I am God."
  • "Why is silence so hard to deal with? Why is it so much easier for us to live our lives with a lot of things going on all the time than tojust be in silence? We’re constantly surrounded with “voices” that are influencing us on how to think, feel, and behave. Movies, music, TV, Internet, cell phones, and a never-ending barrage of advertising. There’s always something going on. Always noise in our lives. But maybe there’s a connection between the amount of noise in our lives and our inability to hear God. If God sometimes feels distant to us, maybe it’s not because he’s not talking to us, but simply because we aren’t really listening."

1 comment:

mompriest said...

I've never had the opportunity to be burned out by a 10,000 member church. But I suppose on some level that is irrelevent. I have staved off burn out several times in my vocation. Usually because I manage to find the kind of help I need. Sometimes because I take a leave, a short retreat of a few days, and go somewhere quiet. And by myself. So. yes. I agree. with the need for silence, the need for help, the need for support.

Oh. And I love the photos of your dogs and cats below...our pets are a great source of solace...