Tuesday, March 2, 2010
A Year of Swimming in the Ocean
After reading for a bit, I suddenly became unusually agitated by the fact that we (along with a whole lot of other people) were laying around the pool of the hotel while there was the actual BEACH right below us. I got really bothered by that, and I wasn't sure why. So I left the pool and began walking along the beach shore.
But many of us have been accustomed to experiencing church the same way pools are set up - they're safe and neat, you can't run, there are scheduled hours of use, and they are perfectly chlorinated and maintained by staff. In pools, the atmosphere and the rules are imposed by the people who create and sustain them. The ocean on the other hand is immense and deep, it maintains itself, and it sets its own rules and makes its own boundaries, it has beautiful sunsets, and natural life to it; it's strong and obviously dangerous, but it's real. In the ocean, the atmosphere and the rules can only be imposed by the person who creates and sustains it...God.
And such a metaphor really excites me because the story of the Bible is an ocean story...not a pool story. So I have determined, to the best of my ability, to live an ocean life instead of a pool life. And to lead this B Church as an ocean church, not a pool church.
And this reminds me of the famed quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."
I fear, though, that the Church in general has exchanged the crossings of the Red Sea, the walkings on water, and the shipwrecks on Malta for a neatly chlorinated box of water. Has it lost its sense of adventure and how God's kingdom really moves?
Nobody waits up all night to watch the sunset over the diving board. People do not risk their lives to attempt to swim from one side of the pool to the other. Explorers aren't diving into the 8 foot deep end to find new creatures. No kids are waiting at the edge with surf boards once the fat guy cannon-balls into the water.
And neither is our church an inflatable lounger floating in the middle of a resort pool. It is a charter boat 15 miles off shore with a bunch of fishermen on it.