A Season For Everything

It is another Sunday morning and a time that I have found to be very relaxing since I don’t have to hurry around and prepare for a morning service at church. The new church I attend meets in the afternoon and so my getting ready is a little less stressful. And since it is a little less formal, it’s not to hard to find a decent shirt and a pair of jeans to wear.

As I have never been one to sleep in, it is also very interesting to just lay around in bed and process the many thoughts that cross my semi-conscious mind. It’s a time to reflect upon the week that has just passed and the week that lies ahead.

It’s a time to process dreams and a time for honest evaluation as to where you are in life—and sometimes it seems our thoughts flow a little easier in that pre-fully conscious state.

This morning I was a newspaper writer who it seemed hadn’t had a big piece in a long time—I had the feeling in this semi-awake state that I wasn’t really producing a lot of copy. It was one of those dry seasons we all go through on occasion. I didn’t really feel happy about this but it didn’t seem like there was a whole lot I could do about it either. I guess my real fear was that my editor would wake up and realize I hadn’t been pulling my weight and I would soon be out of a job.

I remember a Dylan song in which he sang, “At dawn my lover, comes to me, and tells me of her dreams; with never an attempt, to shovel a ditch, into what each one means.”

What I am thinking this mornings dream speaks to is the patterns in my life.

As I have mentioned, Sandi and I are products of what they now call the home church movement. I guess we were ahead of our time and didn’t know it—it just seemed right at the time—not like we were trying to be different—it’s just the way life was unfolding in front of us.

After a time that group split up and we moved on to a larger church—but still one that was different and so-called “non-demoninational” in its approach to service structure and government. It was a place for people looking for something different—and over the years we attracted a lot of people looking for something beyond the norm of what was being offered in the larger scheme of Christendom. Many were people who we refer to now as church hoppers who probably would never be happy in any church—life and people are just that way I have found.

Anyway, after many years, what is non-denominational becomes its own denomination and is not really that much different from all the rest. Its a pattern that has repeated itself time after time. Someone once said that the biggest threat to the next thing God is doing in the earth is from the people who were the last great thing God was doing.  In other words we move so far and then settle—its what most every pilgrim does.

Scripture speaks to the fact that to everything under heaven, there is a season—a time to plant and a time to harvest; a time to build and a time to tear down.

What I have seen is that seasons can end up becoming patterns—patterns of thought and patterns of behaviour. Pattern is defined partly as:

a combination of qualities, acts, tendencies, etc., forming a consistent or characteristic arrangement.

So we see that patterns are not intrinsically bad. But in the sense of an airplane being in a holding pattern above an airport and not being able to land—patterns don’t seem really good.

That’s where I find myself today—more in a holding pattern than a moving forward pattern. Like bike riding of recent, the thought of getting back on the bike knowing that vulnerability exists with every ride is a little unsettling.

That the very sensibilities that I was created with were trivialized by people I was caught in a pattern with for so many years is a big factor in my not putting myself “out there” as well, is disturbing to say the least.

New patterns are emerging—not as fast as I would like but in that I must also take courage. After years of not playing my guitar and singing praise and worship songs as an offering and meditation, I have begun to find my voice again.

I guess I have always had a tendancy to be a “jack of all trades” when it comes to life in general. Limitations are a frustration to me. But as I get older I am beginning to see that to do a few things well is perhaps a greater blessing that to be able to do a lot of things just because they are available or we have the inherent skils needed.

Like I said, it’s another Sunday and the sun is once again shining outside. I need to trust in the fact that this season, though frustrating at the moment, will in turn produce something of value and substance.

Enjoy your ride.

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9 Responses to A Season For Everything

  1. Heather Cotten says:

    This is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. I have been pondering over the balance between honoring where we come from and having memories that are good and bad (not throwing the baby out with the bath water) but at the same time moving forward without trying to duplicate the things from the past. I think that we as Christians (and really the human race for that matter) try to find the place we are comfortable and camp out there. When it is time to move we get antsy and say…”Cant we go back to Egypt?” God is challenging us in this day and time to move forward with Him. The question is how do we continuously do that? That is the challenge we as Christians face. Are we going to move with God or are we going to stay where we feel the most comfortable because God was there at one time? Challenging to say the least.

  2. Carey says:

    You said:”That the very sensibilities that I was created with were trivialized by people I was caught in a pattern with for so many years is a big factor in my not putting myself “out there” as well, is disturbing to say the least.”This is just life, so we might as well get used to it, and get over it.Your writing is an inspiration to me. Thank you.C

  3. Terry Henry says:

    Thanks for hanging in there. Your acceptance of me for who I am through the years is something I will never take for granted or forget. Long live the “Janitors”.

  4. ded says:

    New patterns are emerging—not as fast as I would like but in that I must also take courage. After years of not playing my guitar and singing praise and worship songs as an offering and meditation, I have begun to find my voice again. Hope springs eternal. That is more than a pattern. We react to a pattern and simply fulfill the continuation of the pattern. We experience a pattern, process, then choose to respond in love and the pattern is broken by the creative power of love moving us on. You are there in that process, and I love you for seeking the creative power of love in who you are.

  5. Ben Cotten says:

    “Anyway, after many years, what is non-denominational becomes its own denomination and is not really that much different from all the rest. Its a pattern that has repeated itself time after time.”So true! God is always on the move and it can be very hard to keep up. It goes against our nature I think. This is why I find a lot (though not all) of what’s happening in the Emerging Church right so encouraging. There’s a push for change. There’s a necessary tension and debate happening that I think will result in something of a rebirth of the church as a community that can effectively BE the gospel to our culture without mimicking that culture.For so long we’ve been self-absorbed, getting fat and happy feeding each other the “good food” that God intends to be served to the lost. I think the church is stirring from its slumber. The next 10 years are going to be very interesting.

  6. Terry Henry says:

    Ben: It’s been a wild ride these past few days (life and blog-wise) and I am almost out of breath.Tonight, I left work early and conquered the hill where I fell over on my bike and it felt good—to get past the lump in my stomach and the feeling that I might fall again and get hurt.I am thankful that we have all been able to say what we needed to and be accepted for who we are in Christ.It is a little scary to begin to believe again that we can express ourselves and our different views and ideas and still come away as people together on the Emmaus road. Keep up the “good work”.

  7. Ben Cotten says:

    Thanks, Terry. Catch your breath. It’s a long ride… ;-)It’s divinely serendipitous (can you put those two words together?) that I’ve come across your blog when I have. I’ve been offered the pastorate at a small church in Kernersville and Heather and I have decided to take it.As a result, I’ve been wrestling hard over these very ideas for some time (Godly authority, church models, etc). Having these discussions has sharpened and clarified my thoughts a great deal.Heather and I have prayed for years now that the Church in Boone would not become fractured and scattered as a result of what’s happened, but rather that the relationships that formed over so many years would find a way to survive and grow through the barriers. It would seem that God is answering that prayer. Because in the end, as Heather so faithfully reminds me, it’s about hurting people in need of what only God can give.The High Country has a tremendous need to see authentic Christianity. It’s encouraging to see that happening from my perch here in Raleigh.So… right back at ya with the “Keep up the good work”.

  8. spicelectron says:

    Going to the Alps for the weekend, someone with me?

  9. onhotels says:

    Write more often

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