Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Preaching to the Choir"

Today's list:
  1. Write blog (if nothing else, it gets my writing engine running)
  2. Write news story about FishHawk Fellowship pastor (the deadline helps)
  3. Write new article for All Pro Dad ("10-Ways to teach your children to be grateful" - I'm open to suggestions)
  4. Take a conference call from the United Methodist Reporter in Dallas (the interviewer becomes the interviewee...)
  5. Prepare for my 45 minute talk to the choir this evening....
Yeah, that's right, this evening I get to "preach to the choir." It's fun to actually enter into a bona-fide cliche. The phrase, for those who aren't familiar, refers to any message/advice/appeal etc that is delivered to people who already have the information and probably don't need to be told again...

...Kind of like the letter Rebekah got from our health insurance company that said (and I kid you not) "We have analyzed your medical records over the past decade and believe you should consider being screened for diabetes..." Like we both say, we don't make this stuff up.

Grade-A Sinners:
I'm not sure about the choir at your church, but at my church there's nothing about our songsters that makes them either A) immune to preaching or B) people who don't see the value in a good word. In fact, I know most of them pretty well and I'd say (and they'd enthusiastically agree) they're as accomplished a group of sinners as anyone else!

But of course I'm not preaching. I've been invited to give a talk at their last practice before taking the summer off. I've been thinking about what to share, and I've just about decided to do the standard, introductory, "This is who I am and what I'm about" presentation I give when I'm kicking off the weekend at a retreat or a conference.

It occurred to me that I take the time to introduce myself on the road, but the people I've been worshipping with for 14 years have never heard my story... my "testimony" as it were.

All I want to do is to encourage and - hopefully - to inspire. I want any group of people I'm fortunate enough to talk to to take up the challenge to "Live as if you mean it", to live passionately, and to break out of the numbing sameness that characterizes too much of day-to-day life among those of us who claim to be a part of the "Greatest Story Ever Told."

The best:
This really is the best part of my professional life right now. I'm grateful that anyone at all is willing to read what I write... and I'm bowled over by the fact that they want to hear me talk about it as well.

I've said this before, but I believe one of the reasons all this has started happening - now I'm in my 50's - is that it's taken this long for me to have something worth saying! Life happens, and sometimes it's overwhelming - but eventually the pieces start to come together and you can see the big picture. At least that's what's happened/happening to me. I've been an observer my entire life and after a while it all starts to sink in.

One brief illustration: When I was a teen I attended all the Bible-study and fellowship and discussion groups. I remember noticing how quick so many people were to jump in and say something - even when they had nothing to say. And so I listened, and processed, and waited. If I said anything at all it would be toward the end, very short, and only in response to the listening.

Well, I've been listening 50 years now. It must be my turn.
Peace - DEREK

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