Today I had the honor and privileged of breaking bread with Francis Chan. I suppose that sounds like I had a meal with him. No, I really just had communion. And when I say communion, I think he was backstage somewhere. In fact he may have had communion during the first service, so we may not have even been communing together. Reality really is harsh. Is it alright to have communion more than once in a day? I think I must have slept through that particular class in Bible college.
Anyhow, Francis Chan came to North Idaho this weekend, and I’m pretty sure his reason was to share with me. Yes, a few thousand others got to share in the experience, though I’m quite certain that was only circumstantial. As good speakers of the Word often do, he got me to thinking. And because he ushered me into the realm of the cerebral, you will get to benefit. You can thank him next time he comes to see me. But here are my thoughts, they come in no particular order:
1) He seems a lot shorter in person. I’m hoping this has nothing to do with spiritual significance. The shorter you are, the more spiritual you are? If this is the case then I truly have a long way to go. But I can feel myself shrinking daily…at least in the vertical direction. I hope this is bringing me closer to Christ.
2) Simplicity is potent. We live in a culture that places a high value on presentation. I learned this lesson early as a telemarketer (It was inbound, but that’s not excuse.) and a server. The value of a thing lies not so much within the product as in what I can make you believe about the product. Every time we turn on the television, pick up the newspaper, or turn on the radio we are being spun. Spin-doctors work day and night to concoct the right formula that will make you instantly realize the dream you never knew you always had for a product. Apparently we are presented with nearly 3000 different advertisements on a daily basis. All that spinning can lead to quite the chronic case of vertigo. So when we are presented with something that doesn’t need flourish to make it powerful, we are understandably shocked and awed. Yet, it is within this day of visual pyrotechnics, we are drawn to thing that needs no airbrushing. This is a concept we in the church should pay special attention of. We tend to try to package the Gospel and Christ to make Him appear as a certain thing to a certain group of people. I don’t think Jesus ever had an identity crisis. He kinda always knew who he is. Now we just need to figure out who He is. In the meantime, maybe we should stop trying to sell who He’s not.
3) It starts with me. There are many of us out there who expect someone else to come on in and fix our problems for us. If I were to be honest – which is never a good idea when posting things on the internet; just look at Facebook – I would have to include myself as part of this category. I want to sit back and complain about what’s wrong with the American church. Why isn’t it doing more to do basic Biblical things like take care of widows and orphans? Why isn’t it reaching out to everyone – even Democrats – and showing them love? (And not the kind of love that comes with conditions and a financial bottom line, but the kind that comes without pre-conditions; the kind that is revolutionary and transformative.) The truth of the matter is that movements always start small, because they must start with conviction. The conviction of few leads to the inspiration of many. This is a sad realization for me. It means that I have to get off my couch and “be the change I want to see in the world.” So crazy it just my work.
Francis, you have inspired me. I’m going to read my Bible, and this time I might just do as it says. And next time you pop into town I think we should get some coffee. By that I mean I’m going to be drinking coffee next time I listen to you speak. I suppose you can drink what you’d like.