Reading the book of Acts with eyes of faith is a dangerous exercise. It is dangerous because it reveals how the Church was assigned to function in culture as a transforming presence.
Throughout the book of Acts, the culture was made aware of the presence of the Church by a wide variety of supernatural encounters. Most of these encounters were strange and alien events and were condemned by the controlling religious spirit. The same is true today. Planned religion makes very little room for anything outside of “The Plan.”
The encounters in Acts drew the eyes of the people away from the faithless norm of the day toward something that violated their assumptions about reality. I am hungry for my assumptions about my reality to be violated. While some in the Church are committed to a non-stop argument about the election or the theological implications of the book/movie, The Shack, I have another plan. I will share the details of that plan in the last paragraph.
Perhaps we need to put aside all we are doing as the Church and reevaluate why we are doing what we are doing. We have the crazy and ill-informed notion that we need to perpetuate the status quo at all costs. We don’t need another advertised “revival”, another well-planned church service, another well-crafted vision statement, another election to go “our way” or labor for another degree to add to our theological pedigree. We need a fresh encounter with God – a personal Day of Pentecost.
I believe this is so important that this summer after I finish the next few months of ministry commitments, I am going to disengage from all forms of ministry to allow God to rework my life. In fact, yesterday I ordered a camper shell for the back of my pickup truck. I am hitting the road. One of my favorite authors is John Steinbeck. His book, Travels with Charley, will become my summer model for ministry. Steinbeck hit the road in his pick-up truck and camper in search of America. I am hitting the road in my truck and camper in search of a Day of Pentecost outside the walls of a church building. I plan to drive along some unexplored roadways, stop in for breakfast at iconic roadside coffee shops, stop along a remote trout stream and drop a line. I plan to visit a variety of places that are apart from any planned church event but in the presence of my favorite traveling Partner.
If we all simply took the time to disengage from our current reality we might actually find our way forward into a future we never imagined possible. For some of us that will be as miraculous as anything recorded in the book of Acts.