Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mystery Meat Ministry

I've been kicking the story of Aaron and the Golden Calf around in my head for about a week now and have decided it is a great metaphor for the life of ministry.

Aaron is in charge because Moses has gone up the mountaintop to speak with God. Moses is taking longer than anyone is expecting, so the people start clamoring for Aaron to do something. "Make us some gods," they yell.

From a reader's persective it is pretty obvious that Aaron is just winging it. He really has no idea what he is doing. Anxious, and perhaps even a little scared, he goes with the first thing he sees. "Your earrings, give me your earrings," he says. The Hebrew women all take off their earrings and drop them in the cauldron Aaron is mixing up. Aaron then makes a molten calf out of the melted earrings. His eureka borders on the ridiculous: "This is the god, O Israel, that brought you out of Egypt."


The first casuality in a time like this is always intentionality. People want God or gods, whichever they can have right now. So, like Aaron before us, we wing it. I call it mystery meat ministry, because it reminds me a lot of whatever they served on Fridays in my elementary school - a mixed bag of whatever was available all thrown together and then nuked for safety's sake. This is how blended worship services and hydra-headed youth pastors and scary Jesus pictures made their way into the church. "This is what will lead our struggling little church out of Egypt. This be your god, O Church of America."

The alternative is of course much more unsettling. The alternative is to move slowly and carefully. The alternative is to attend to the ancient spiritual practices. To fast. To pray. To break bread with one another. The alternative is to wait on God.

I covet your prayers. Our church has come out of Egypt but we haven't quite made it to the Promised Land. And Moses is nowhere in sight.

Pray that we will resist the temptation to make ourselves some false gods. Pray that we will instead have the patience to wait on the real one.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

More Farm Bill

Today the Burlington Free Press printed an Op Ed piece I wrote calling attention to all that is at stake in this year's Farm Bill.

Lurkers, I cannot stress to you enough how important this legislation is for rural America and for farmers in the developing world. Please write your congressmen and tell them that you would like to see change in this year's legislation. Go to Oxfam America or Bread for the World to learn what needs to be fixed.

Advocacy is a hidden, romanceless, thankless job. But it is how the world will be changed.