Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We used to have to walk to school uphill, both ways....

Over the years I’ve read several books on the subject of spiritual awakening. The topic has always been of high interest to me, for reasons I can’t take the time to fully explain here, but I am drawn by fascination to the process of how and why social change occurs. Every author has his or her reasons, or solutions, but there seems to be one common thread woven through most writing to which I am familiar. Most everything I’ve ever read about spiritual awakening describes the process in terms of returning, or getting things back to the way they should be.

You can find works written about how to take our cities back for the glory of God, or for those who are interested in returning America back to Christ, or how to get our world back on the right track. In each case, the operative word is “back.”

Why not forward?

The wisdom of Solomon led him to propose this idea years ago. “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” I believe he recognized that in every generation, there is a tendency to think backward instead of forward. We do so because of personal experience. We’ve seen the past, but we’ve not seen the future.

But this kind of perspective requires very little faith. Faith is the essence of what is unseen, not what is seen. It takes less faith to look upon what once was and think it should be the norm. As I described in a previous post, I saw leaders who wanted me to recreate the Jesus Movement of the 70’s by telling stories in such a way that assumed they should be normative for my generation. All it created was a bunch of frustrated students.

This is why Solomon chides us to stay away from looking back on the good old days with anything other than fondness. It’s one thing to enjoy history, collecting antiques, and eating breakfast at Cracker Barrel, but when that affection turns into an obsession to remake the future in that image, it’s a good sign that faith is starting to erode.

Future Pastor, this is why I believe in you so much. I don’t want to become Bobby Bowden or Joe Paw. They are both legends in their field, but they are relics because the game has changed significantly. I know there will come a time I need to get out of your way and turn the reins over to you to lead your generation according to the vision you have that is instigated by your faith.

I love Al Pacino’s speech in the locker room scene of the film, Any Given Sunday, where he stands in front of his team at halftime and with the cadence of a gospel preacher, paints a picture of what it will take to win the ballgame. At one point in the speech he tells them clearly, “Now I can’t do it for you...” which is how I feel about finding the Church of the Future.

Future Pastor, you have a better opportunity to move forward than I because you have less of a past than I do. I can lead you, inspire you and walk a while with you, but it’s up to you to see what the future can be by faith. Trust what you envision. The old days were fine, and old guys like me will always look at them differently than you will, and that’s why you will change the world, not me.


I am Patrick Hieger said...

Hey, sir. My name's Patrick and I write the "What's Good" blog. You just commented last night reminding me that it's been a year since last I posted. Thanks so much for your words, your encouragement, your reminder that I haven't been doing much other than working 70+ hours a week and I need to get back on the horse. Look for some new posts soon. Thanks,

I am Patrick Hieger said...

new post is up. thanks for the push.