…OR, 2 Illustrations and a point!

Illustration #1:

We have signs hanging all over our house: simplicity, simple, simplify. In fact, simplify is the very last word I see as I’m walking out the front door… a challenge for my every day! 

Those signs are much more than decor for me and Adele. They are vitally important to us. A few years back we became absolutely convinced (convicted by God’s Spirit, really) that we must simplify life! Things were getting out-of-hand. The merry-go-round was neither slowing or stopping.

We knew that, if we were ever to get there, we would have to find ways to constantly remind ourselves and monitor that journey. Given the fact that we have chosen a contemporary Cracker Barrel motif for our home, the signs were the perfect option!

We have made some progress (thank You, Father). But now, several years into this journey, it occurs to me that we have also, inadvertently, complicated the walls of our world by adding signs to call us to simplify!

Funny, isn’t it?

Illustration #2:

I was visiting with a new friend this last week, learning about the path to spiritual maturity as described by his wonderful Church. Along the way of our discussion he mentioned some time the pastoral team had given contemplating whatever it might mean to be a simple church. Now, my ears perk when I hear that phrase “simple Church” for two reasons:

  1. obviously, the word simple captures me (see illustration #1); and
  2. I have been a part of 2 house church networks in my life, both of which were, in the purest sense of the word, simple.

As we talked we happened upon a realization – like in our home – there was some progress but, there were also some complicating factors added (to be sure, added in order to make things clearer but added nonetheless).

A Point:

It’s Christmas time… the most wonderful time of the year. It is, for those who follow the Christ, a time of clear focus: He has come!!

But, it has also become a time of complexity and complications. Presents to purchase and give as well as presence at various gatherings with various constituencies… Decorations to unpack and display as well as questions about the proper decorum for this event or that…

Simple can mean focused. But focused doesn’t necessarily mean uncomplicated. A military campaign could be incredibly focused and complex! A surgical process could be maticulously focused and complicated. A Church can get more focused while, at the same time, creating complex structures. AND a life can get more focused and complicate matters along the way.

Yes, simplicity can mean focus, but focus doesn’t always mean simple. I want, so bad, to be both to be simply focused – to keep my eyes on the prize – to not miss Christmas because of the flutter of activity I’ve stirred up around my own self.

And, I want to start today.

How about you?


About christmasandicecream

Grace & Peace to you all! I'm Randy. I am a follower of Jesus - sometimes close up and, sadly, sometimes way too far away. My best friend, administrative assistant, partner, and high school sweetheart all live with me and go by the same name: Adele. She and I are part of a relationally-focused, small group based Church family that helps us along spiritual quest. Our boys are both grown now. We have a wonderful daughter-by-marriage and 2 truly GRANDchildren... 1 boy and 1 girl. We are Corgi people and now oversee the care of 1 spoiled Corgi puppy named Elly May. I am a devoted fan of 2 'seasons' in each year: Christmas and baseball!! At my house, a Christmas tree goes up somewhere within days of the close of the Fall Classic (baseball lingo for the World Series) and a Christmas tree stays up all the way through Spring Training. In between it is non-stop celebration of the Incarnation. I live in the Mid-Atlantic part of the U.S.A. and, among other things, work as a coach and consultant with an incredibly diverse network of churches that make up the BCMD. My Church-roots are in the Baptist bucket of the Christian ice cream shop. But, just because I have a favorite flavor, doesn't mean I don’t like them all! I do. I work with things like soul care & leadership development of pastor/pastoral team members; with small, simple, organic models of church life; with relational strategies of spiritual formation; and with the health of the Church. I taught at New Orleans seminary for a decade and have served in local churches for 30 years. I am currently part of the faculty of Rockbridge Seminary – a new kind of seminary for a new kind of Church – where I also play a role on the Academic Council. *I am obliged to note that questions, comments, ideas, views,... just about anything you read here, are mine, and not those of BCMD, RS, any other organization or school I work for, or those of most normal people. Thanks for visiting. Come back again.
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