August 23, 2005

I’ve become addicted to Alias I think. I had always heard what a great show it was, but had never watched until a few months ago. I started watching the 4th season with a friend I was living with, and since I have gone back and watched all of season 1 and most of season 2 to catch up on the story. To be honest, I’m not really that compelled with each individual story, and usually have it on in the background while I am doing other things. Much moreso, I’m interested in how each week ties together in a larger narrative of the story. Each week leaves us hanging between as the greater plot is developed through each episode. (Though I can’t find his original entry, I need to give Will Samson a nod for sharing this idea some months ago.)

We are too fascinated with the idea of a clean finish I think. We want to tie up loose ends and be done with things. Sometimes this can be useful, but sometimes it can be harmful. TV show writers understand that…they want the story to somehow pull you forward to next week, so that you know you are not finished with it. (Of course, even as I type this, my two week old daughter is fussing, and I am torn between comforting her and trying to finish this post — it’s hard to leave things unfinished!)

Scot McKnight posted some suggestions on how to write a few days ago. One of his suggestions was along the same lines. When you are done with one writing project, don’t stop. Go ahead and at least start the next project. This helps you to not feel like you have the big hurdle of the start ahead of you, but that you can just come back and pick up where you left up.

What if we brought this into play in how we did gatherings, whether large or small, in our Jesus communities? We like to think of gatherings as neat little packages that have a nice start and a neat finish. Sometimes we think this way about sermons, and sometimes we think this way about entire worship services. What if we scrapped this whole idea?
What if we stopped with a start and began with an ending?
What if we began each gathering by reflecting on how last weeks’ theme/topic was present with us that week?
What if people had a chance to share how it played out for them?
What if our teaching was devoted not to presenting a nice little package of truth that was neatly wrapped up in a cute outline?
What if people were presented with something compelling to live with and wrestle with all week?
What if we were all left hanging each time we gathered?

Wouldn’t this better reflect to all of us that following Jesus is about how we live?
It’s not about sitting a worship service every week. It’s not about what our doctrine is. I need to be reminded of that. Don’t you?

One more thought along this line, although this one isn’t finished…finish it on your own. 🙂 The Jewish concept of the day was not the same as ours. For us the day begins not at midnight, or, practically speaking, when we wake up in the morning. But for Jews, the day began when the sun went down. So that means Wednesday is starting for me right about now. How could thinking of our days in this way be useful for this concept of unresolution?

And one final thought…earlier, when Ellie was fussing, I decided to

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