Thursday, May 05, 2011

Sticks & Chisels 4.Bonus

I know about 20 people who started blogging (or significantly increased the rate of their posts) about 5 months ago. They were all in the course I took which led to this Sticks & Chisels series of posts. Some of them have blogged before, some of them set up their very first posts on our first day of class. It's been fun to watch as they get into it (or don't) and I always speculate about the fate of their blogs now that the semester is coming to a close.

We were assigned a total of 17 posts - and my guess is that for a lot of the students, 17 (or maybe something less) will be the total number of their post count for quite some time. Some of the students only posted because it was an assignment. Now that the semester's done and the assignment due, the posting will stop. The motivation is gone.

Others will continue to post because they found motivation beyond the assignment. Maybe they've had something to say and blogging has helped them find their voice. Maybe, in writing out their thoughts and daring to share them, they've found a message worth repeating - and will continue to do so. Or maybe, they've been drawn in to a community of readers and writers who are enriching each other in the sharing of stories and struggles.

This has me thinking about 2 things: the church & my work.

First, the church: What is sufficient motivation for being a part of the church? Many people start "going to church" (a stupid phrase I wish I could strike from the contemporary lexicon and for which I will now loathe myself for using) motivated by curiosity, or nostalgia, or guilt. But are those motivators sufficient to sustain life as a disciple? What happens when the curiosity is satisfied? What happens when nostalgia is laid bare and revealed to be a self-centered longing for something that never really was?

Now, guilt I'll admit has some staying power. I'd guess there are many churches that subtly use the pressure of guilt and shame to subjugate attendants into weekly (or at least bi-weekly as long as you don't forget your offering) compliance. But that is not the same as truly being the church, so eventually the callouses born of constant guilt shield the heart from the true surrender upon which church belonging is really predicated.

Sometimes, I see kids grow up attending church functions only to walk away when life gets filled with places to drive, jobs to work, and colleges to visit/attend. Why do they leave? Despite "growing up in the church," they never found the real motivation for sticking around. So sadly, when finals are done, their posts are abandoned.

Which brings me to #2 - my work. I can struggle with losing the motivation deep enough to sustain me in the work I have to do. When my vision strays from Who brought me to this life and why, I become frustrated with so many distractions and lesser motivations.
The drive to fix what's broken...
The hope to show kids that church doesn't have to suck...
The attempt to give kids something better to do...
The desire to attract that one special kid into the group...
The longing to be remembered for something worthwhile...

Some of these are good - but not enough.

What motivates you? Will it be enough?

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