Someone else messing with my head today…
One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are so accustomed to relying upon words to manage and control others. If we are silent, who will take control? God will take control, but we will never let him take control until we trust him. Silence is intimately related to trust.
The tongue is our most powerful weapon of manipulation. A frantic stream of words flows from us because we are in a constant process of adjusting our public image. We fear so deeply what we think other people see in us that we talk in order to straighten out their understanding. If I have done something wrong (or even some right thing that I think you may misunderstand) and discover that you know about it, I will be very tempted to help you understand my action! Silence is one of the deepest disciplines of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on all self-justification.
One of the fruits of silence is the freedom to let God be our justifier. We don't need to straighten others out.
– Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline (via Seeking the Kingdom)
By the way, this guy is Francis Chan. I don’t know him. I know he pastors a really big church in San Diego. In general, I like the idea of smaller churches more than bigger churches. However, I love having my biases and paradigms mucked with, and Francis is doing that.
This church where he preaches has too many people and not enough square feets, so they’re going to put together a bigger space for themselves. This is where I usually start to hear ringing in my ears, not to mention the voices. However, Francis and his fellow nutjobs out in California are doing something silly. Instead of building a McBuilding with atriums (I confess I don’t actually know what an atrium is) and fountains and coffee shops and nail salons and piping in a hologram preacher (if the other is where I hear voices, this is where my eyes roll back in my head and I start to gag uncontrollably), these folks are building an outdoor meeting spot at a fraction of the cost so they can…wait for it, because this doesn’t fit within the modern western Christian religious paradigm…give a lot of their money away to people who need it more than they need a big building. Granted, these folks are in San Diego. I’ve been to San Diego and being outside there is rarely uncomfortable. STILL AND ALL…*
You can read more about this down in the blue box at the bottom of this page. Depending on your bent, the first part of the page might taste less great or be more filling.
So don’t say I never said anything nice about a megachurch. I admire Francis and his folks out there for aspiring to less and dreaming small. There is a Kingdom whose nature is revealed in such dreams and aspirations.
* I’ve never really used the phrase “still and all,” but I think this is how it works, right? Instead of actually explaining why the fact that they’re in San Diego doesn’t diminish the virtue of their decision, I just write, “STILL AND ALL…” and you get it. Right?