16 Apr Ground Zero … a little too familiar
It is beyond description to see Ground Zero. To see and be at the place where so many lost their lives all at once and to consider the profound loss of life (and in some ways, some liberties we’ve taken for granted) cannot be described. The crowds are still very large and the city has done a magnificent job allowing for access to the perimeters of the site.
One very moving place to visit there was St. Paul’s Chapel, the Episcopal Church right across the street from the Twin Towers. History records that George Washington attended there regularly and went there to pray right after his first inauguration. It was the place we all saw whose wrought iron fence was blanketed with search and rescue posters and memorials.
History will now record that this church opened her arms wide to minister to the thousands of rescue and recovery workers for the nine months of recovery and clean up of Ground Zero. The Sanctuary there holds an exhibit of the church’s service following 9/11.
We also walked over to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange … Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza. Just as we arrived, a film crew was setting up to film some scenes of an upcoming episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. We tried to do some star sighting (we couldn’t – too cold, too long of a wait).
Dark by then, we hopped the subway to Times Square. That was awesome! The lights of Las Vegas hold nothing to Times Square. Blocks and blocks of massive video screens and huge scrolling signs. We found the Fox News Channel studios and watched a few minutes of Hannity & Colmes being filmed live. We tried to get into the shot through the window behind the anchors to no avail.
We also got to view a motorcade for someone. Don’t know who it was, but it was impressive – several NYPD cars running code 3 and a couple Secret Service-looking SUVs. It was a fun day, and we’re looking forward to a great conference tomorrow.
A little more on that – some may be wondering, “Why the focus on something like The Emotionally Healthy Church”? Scazzero’s premise in his book is that spiritual maturity and emotional maturity cannot be separated.
Too often, I (and other pastors) encounter circumstances with people (including ourselves, by the way) who certainly seem like they’ve got some things together spiritually. They either know a lot of Bible, have known the Lord for a long time, or just altogether seem to “have it together” when it comes to spiritual life. Then, something will occur that causes behavior that just makes you go, “Where did that come from?”
Through my burnout recovery (my own “Ground Zero”, if you will), one of the things I discovered personally was that it is not possible to be spiritually mature and emotionally immature. When that is the case, and the winds of life blow hardship your way that causes your faith to be shaken, shipwreck occurs.
Or, you may face a conflict in your life that challenges your sense of “how things ought to be handled”, and in the name of “spiritual maturity”, your emotionally immature behavior in the circumstance is written off rather than healthily addressed. When that happens, relationships are damaged, sometimes beyond repair.
NewHeart is not much different from other churches with this kind of stuff. But I do think this truth is somehow tied to our decades-long history of shipwrecked pastorates and decayed or damaged relationships (our corporate “Ground Zero”). I think there’s something to becoming an emotionally healthy church that is key for our future, particularly in light of our past.
All in all, it’s my desire to shepherd this congregation into greater wholeness (not a place we ever “arrive” at) for however long the Lord has me assigned here. I think we’ve come a long way in almost eight years. We have some way to go – and I am very glad the Lord has us together for the journey!
I encourage you to ask questions here, or make comments. I will be sharing more about this journey we’re on as I am learning and as I am able. I know it’s my tendency to be a little long-winded, so I’ll stop for now!