Sunday, November 27, 2016


I took my notebook with my today to just down some action items and wouldn't you know it, I started writing down other stuff, too.  I wish I had more time to unpack it, but it's getting late and I want to read (and Lori's going to ask about the loud typing on this keyboard).

In our Sunday school class we've been looking at the Articles of Faith (?) for the Nazarene Church - how they explain and interpret what they believe.  It was an interesting focus today on sin - sin in the world versus when we personally choose to sin, either by action or in the thoughts that we harbor or nurse. Also some interesting thoughts on accidents, mistakes and other things that would be sin if they were done intentionally.

We got into the thoughts of "It's All About Me" versus "It's Not About Me at All" - absolutizing and negating, pride/selfishness and self-rejection/rejection-of-God - I matter versus nothing matters. It was interesting that both represented a wrong focus.  I wish I could explain it better.

At first I was feeling "how is this not legalistic?" but the more I listened, the more I realized it was thoughtful, Scripture-based reasons (why) for the interpretations they had arrived at and not a list (how) of rules that you had to follow. I appreciated that the church also meets every four years to discuss the Articles to make sure they still represent their best most current understanding of Scripture.  There was also the analogy that we have to be careful, that if we focus too much on the Bible, it's like someone pointing at the moon and we focus on the hand pointing instead of what they're pointing at.

We also touched on systemic sin, when it's baked into the culture or process of a company, government or church, any time that by design (or neglect) a system comes to oppress, take advantage or exclude people.  His example was a clothing company that profited at the expense of its workers and their working conditions but all I could think of was Wells Fargo.

After Sunday school, we went to church and I had the revelation that it's been a long time since I've been on the outside looking in.  I've been really pretty involved in all the churches I've attended, well, practically my whole life - from Family of God to Silverdale to Bethel to Lake Avenue to Our Saviors - every time I've had volunteer, leadership or staff roles, some kind of input, some kind of behind-the-scenes type of service. So far at this church, I've been much more of a consumer (something I was once accused of at another church, laughably, guess they'd forgot that I'd served on the council and ran audio and actually led a few of the church services for all but the preaching), but yeah, at this church so far I've been a show up, participate, contribute money attender, but I haven't volunteered, I haven't served, I haven't given of my time.  I felt a little bit guilty, but I'm also a little bit in awe of how this church seems to have it altogether, lots of volunteers, polished videos, great graphic design, lots of volunteers (worth mentioning twice, seriously, wow).  I wondered if I would think differently if I did get more involved, did see more of behind-the-scenes, or if this church just really really has it all together.  The same idea I think that makes me think I wouldn't want to work for Disney.

I was also struck again by just amazement / awe / gratitude that we live in Southern California again. I love it here. It's just overwhelming in a good way to be here.  I think I'm risking not appreciating it, though, being so busy and not making time to really get out and experience the community.

So many Seattle - talked to a number of people today who are from Seattle or who had recently travelled there.  Turns out the music director grew up there.  Started the service by commenting on how today's weather was what you'd get for many weeks in a row.  True... gray and rainy. Didn't care for it.

I should stop for now. I have more things, but I've been typing for almost 20 minutes now. That's enough clicking and clacking.