Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Caught in the Middle

So often I feel caught in the middle of lots of things.  It's not that I don't have opinions, I do have them - and quite firm ones at that, but often I can see both sides and agree with parts of both sides, so often end up in the middle - the "middle way" as it is often called (the "middle way" is one of the things that defines Anglicanism - seems like I am in the right denomination!).  

Tonight a conversation with a staff member after a great group conversation about SPACE once again made me conscious of the way in which I am in the middle.  Sparked by some things she said in the group conversation and some other things, we talked through her sense of the only reason to be doing what we are doing is evangelism.  For her that means people being converted.  I'm conscious of how different that is to what matters to many I'm around, in word and action - and how I am in the middle.  What matters to me is that people experience wholeness and for me that wholeness comes in all sorts of forms but only finds it's fulfillment in knowing Jesus and growing in relationship and discipleship of him.  Through the conversation tonight my sense that I am wanting more people with a relationship with Jesus, who long for people to know and experience wholeness in it's completeness, to be in SPACE regularly has been reinforced.

And the conversation with the staff member after this group conversation led me to understand some more of why that is difficult for many around me.  Not only are we time and energy committed in many (good) places - many of the people around me are not sure where they are in their own relationship with God, are not sure about the uniqueness of Jesus, are not experiencing the transformation that they once believed was the experience they would receive from relationship with Jesus, are not growing in their relationship with God ... and at the bottom of it, their confidence in Jesus is low and therefore, they are not confident in what to share about the life that he offers.  Therefore, people come down to being interested in doing good in the world, offering good things to the world.

I am convinced that this in itself, while being good, is just touching the surface of the issue.  It's like giving people a drink of life giving water, but not helping them to knowing where to find the life giving water which will never try up.  They might have a heap of water (good in their life that they might even be able to share with others) but if they are not in a deep connection with the One who is the creator then life in its fullness is not known and shared.  This is what I long for - people to know life in its fullness and to this end the staff members comment tonight is accurate - "what's the point otherwise?"

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