-Rev Melissa Fain-
This post is not meant to be read first! Please, please please! Read these before you continue:
Zombie Jesus: God is not Undead
Zombie Church Apocalypse
To all those killed by zombies: Canceling
To all those who are ghosted by the church
DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER!
Reading anyway? Well, I've read enough "Monster at the end of this book" to know you would. Well, here we go...
When I was a kid, my dad, sister and I were enjoying some chips and salsa. My sister and I made an off hand comment that we should make our own. Dad, being the creative man he is, asked if we wanted to actually do that, and we both reaffirmed our desire to make our own salsa. The next thing we knew, we were clearing a plot of land to grow our own ingredients. Dad made sure we understood, everything on the land had to go, or it would grow up with the crops.
Now, we were elementary school kids. Honestly, we thought we got everything out of that plot. I’m absolutely positive if I (Adult Melissa) was able to look at my own work clearing the ground, I’d give a “really” look to my younger self, and point her back into the mini-field. We didn’t get everything, and that was made clear as grass and weeds began to grow up with the tomatoes and peppers. Every day I’d spend some time in the garden pulling what didn’t belong.
The salsa ended up being the best salta I had ever eaten. Dad had successfully taught us value. A lesson I still consider today as I am a creative woman.
That’s really beside the point. The point is the land. If you haven’t been reading Fig Tree posts since the new year, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER! What do you think I’ve been doing?! I do not take pleasure in spending weeks talking about death and dying. Who do you think I am? Ask a Mortician? I was clearing the ground. I was making the land ready for something new. If you haven’t done the same, leave. It’s not that I don’t want you here, it’s that you don’t want you here. I get it now, but to continue, so should you.
Summer is coming (my butt!)
Oh God! Sweet merciful God that has infinite patience for my impatience! I get it now!
Years ago I attempted to launch Fig Tree Christian in the dining area of a Cajun Restaurant. I passed out thousands of flyers. Yes, thousands! On the flyer was a daisy with the words, “Are you ready for something new?” It’s the banner image today. I posted online numerous times, and leading up to the launch I had this feeling, “What is about to happen is what is supposed to happen.”
Seriously, nothing happened. No one showed up. It was an epic failure, and I was left to contemplate what it all meant. I had this deep yearning to do God’s work, and I deeply felt that work was as the minister of Fig Tree. Why would it all start by not a single person feeling called to be part of it all? My initial gut reaction was realizing it wasn’t ready yet. I’ve come to realize it was more personal than that. I wasn’t ready yet. If Fig Tree had launched back when I first made the attempt it would have naturally reverted to everything that already existed. I had traditional church built into every fiber of my being. By “traditional” I’m not making a comparison of guitar or organ. I’m saying the skeleton of modern worship, which whether you have praise or hymnal music is pretty much the same. The congregants sit as a group of people lead songs and prayers. They request money and one person gives a message that connects to the Bible in some way. There’s also communion, sometimes weekly and sometimes quarterly or bi-annually. Then there’s this cadence to it all. There are ways people pray that have a rhythm to it. Implicit and explicit body language- all of it so much a part of my worshiping body.
I had to kill it, or more aptly, I had to sacrifice it to God.
Not clear enough? Up to this point, my job as a minister of Fig Tree has been to till and pull up a plot of space in my heart. Consider that for a moment. While there were those who had their “soul-ground” destroyed by others, I had to destroy what was left of my own before I could continue. And I fought! I did not go easy into that good night! I attempted negotiation. “God, just give me a space, and I’ll give you my call.” LOL! I attempted to put the church on credit, as in, “God, just give me a team now, and we’ll pull those weeds as they arise. No point clearing the ground first. People are lost.” ROFL!
Now I’m ready to start planting, and I’m ready for people to join me, but I don’t want you here if you’re coming with all your weeds. More than that, if you’re in love with your weeds, why are you even here? There’s numerous churches all over the United States that love your weeds. You don’t even have to work to keep them! Stay away from this, and it’s years of set-up. You don’t belong.
If you are ready for this, but you haven’t accepted something can’t survive first, go back and do the work. I want you here. God wants you here, but you need to mourn. I don’t know, have yourself a little funeral for the traditional church. Write yourself a eulogy. Remember her like your beloved great aunt Ruth. Laugh about the good times, cry over the bad, and cremate what remains.
Then come join me! I’m ready to plant some hope, and it’s gonna be messy, and it’s gonna be fun, and it’s almost time for Spring.
BUT DO NOT FOLLOW IF YOU ARE NOT READY!