4 Things (part 4)

To review, I’m talking about the four things that our church want to be known for. Or at least what we decided at a recent leaderhip retreat. I’ve already talked about two of them. We want to the kind of community that reads the Bible like a love letter, and that is known for pounding nails.

The third thing that we said was that we want to be known for worshipping God. Of course, that would be true for almost every church, so I’d like to suggest that we want to be a devoted fan club for God.

For devoted fans, it isn’t just about the concerts (or TV show or movie or whatever). They keep track of what the object of their affection is doing, where he/she is going or appearing. They try to dress the same. They read eveything they can read, listen to everything they can listen to. They put up pictures. They ask for autographs. They send letters. They send emails. They send themselve (or try to). They are completely devoted. They spend 168 hours a week being a fan.

On one hand, we look at that and think “how childish”. On the other hand, there is something compelling about that kind of devotion. Now, imagine that you get to talk with and hear from that person. Pretty exciting stuff.

When we are fans of God, we do get to.


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8 responses to “4 Things (part 4)

  1. Jon –

    When I think of devoted fans, I think of their being a great distance between the fan and the object of their adoration. Where does the relationship with God occur in this analogy. How can we walk with Jesus as his Disciples did if he is simply ‘on-stage’ and we are just following his acts?
    When I receive the Eucharist at Mass, I am transported. I picture very clearly the Last Supper, that Passover Seder, the upper room filled with friends gathered around the table to break bread together.
    When the priest says “Take this each one of you and eat it/drink from it”, I feel invited to the table. I feel as though I have a place at the table with Him.

    The analogy of a fan club is a tough one for me. I don’t want to feel so disconnected, as though I can only read about His actions, or hear His words.

    If He is to be very much alive and present, I want to be with Him not watching Him.

    This analogy also seems incongruent with all of the action that your church has been under going.

    Help me to understand your intention better.

  2. wonderful wonderful wonderful.

    The challenge of metaphor is that it can capture one part wonderfully and be completely wrong about the other side.

    The fan image is great for capturing a life-consuming, attention shaping focus. It stinks with the intimacy part.

    In our four part statement, the intimacy part shows up in other places, but I was trying to figure out how to capture the 168 hours of worship, of that kind of adoration.

    What word picture illustrates adoration and intimacy?

    In another setting recently, I talked about worship as seeking God’s face, delighting in his presence, and acknowledging his gracious supremacy. But I don’t know how to make that be a picture that doesn’t sound religious.

    So I am very open for other images.

  3. How about “devoted entourage”? Or better yet, devoted travelling companions? I’m not sure it captures the reverence,though. “Jesus is my travelling buddy” is intimacy without adoration, isn’t it? That’s a tough assignment, Jon.

  4. After more sleep, another thought: how about “adoring little brothers and sisters”? Unlike fans (trivia: my mother was a member of Michael Crowford’s fan club. sigh), who may or may not aspire to be like the object of their adoration…younger siblings are more likely to say, “I want to be like him when I grow up.” They also have the sometimes annoying habit(to the big brother, humanly speaking) of tagging along behind him everywhere he goes.

    Dallas Willard will say, use “devoted apprentices”–but I’m afraid that word might be spoiled for our culture for awhile.

  5. LOL…sounds like a bumper sticker waiting to happen Laurie.

    But, you did hit on the word that stuck with me all night…Reverence.

    I got to reading the Psalms last night, can’t be sure if it was 5 or the other few I read (thanks Jon), but reverence came up.

    I love the image of the church as Christ’s bride. Jon, you’ll help me with the verses….yes?

    I can think of no more intimate relationship than that of spouses. Devotion, reverence, intimacy…it’s all there. I am most certainly her biggest fan.

    I know that people get all caught up in a politically correct intellectual vortex when talking about relationships between a man and a woman as it is in scripture. Let’s stretch ourselves beyond the initial reaction to defined roles and look closely at the words for the value in the mutual adoration, the relationship, the honoring.

    I find those verses around relationships to be of extraordinary value if one looks more keenly at what is asked of each person in the relationship.

    So, I like the analogy of spouses…perhaps that is because I adore my own so much.

  6. okay, think this through.

    You get to know a guy in a bar (or coffeeshop if that is better). Pretty good musician. You start talking, and then he invites you to play along. You know a few chords, nothing great, but you decide to try because the place is empty.

    The playing is incredible. I mean, he can work around your chords in a way that makes it sound like real music, like you are involved in something incredible. He stops for a second, and you realize that you are just playing a three chord progression, nothing great. It is all him.

    You chat a bit, you play some more, and then it’s time to go home. You get home and discover that you still only know the three chords, but the memory of the music is amazing.

    You turn on the news in the morning while getting ready for work, eyes still bleary from the late night. The entertainment reporter is doing a story about a concert in town, and as you listen, you realize that you recognize the style. You look, and see the guy you were playing with last night. As he speaks, he talks about his new friend, a person he met last night and made music with. He invites this person to the concert, front row.

    You get to the venue and there are 50 people lined up for the free ticket. And then he walks out and walks up to each of you, hums the bit of song he played (different song for each of the fifty of you), greets you each by the nickname he gave each of you last night, and welcomes you to the concert.

    There are, of course, only fifty seats, all front row. and there are fifty-one guitars.

    You can’t quite decide how to feel. You thought he knew you individually, and yet he knows each of you individually, and yet you are all together, and yet.

    So you all end up going in and each playing and all having a great time. And then he leaves.

    And you start coming to the concert hall every week and talking about that great night, and learning how he met each of you, and sometimes he comes and sometimes he doesn’t, but you love getting together to play.

    And during the week you practice, and sometimes, in the middle of playing you hear, you swear you hear, that other part, the part which turns your chords into music.

    Does that kind of a fan club work better?

    That’s to me. I wrote my last comment before I saw Laurie’s little brothers and sisters, and Rob’s spouses comment.

    Interesting thought. I once described a day as having worshiped Nancy. By that I mean that I spend the day at home while she was at work, thinking about what I knew she would like. It was a great exercise in remembering, in not adding in what I think she should like, etc. And that is what I think worshiping should be, that kind of devotion.

    I also like the younger siblings image because, after all, it is also a biblical image and (yoo-hoo) we are wanting to be biblically based. Maybe that’s the fundamental flaw in the fan club image. It is extra-biblical.

    thanks you two for pushing.

    I still like the guitar image I wrote, but i really like the need to go back to the images we have been given and then finding ways to breathe new life into them, making them sound not like our stereotype of what the Bible sounds like, but like, um, well, like we would find in a love letter.

  8. I like your guitar playing image, Jon, but really I think you can’t do better than the image already given to us of the bride. think about those early days of marriage when you couldn’t wait to be with your lover, when just being near was painfully sweet. You hung on his/her every word and thought he could do no wrong.
    The beautiful part is that HE really can do no wrong, is worthy of such blind devotion and loves us back even better than that new freshly minted spouse.