Thomas Wolfe often bounced between periods of energetic creativity and boundless enthusiasm to periods of morbid self-pity, un-productivity, and depression. At one point while working prodigiously on his writings, he experienced morbid melancholia. At that time he was traveling in Europe, separated from his wife, when he wrote:
Today has been a horrible one. I was able to sleep only the most diseased and distressed sleep, the worst sort of American in Europe sleep and I got sick with the shakes, the day was the most horrible European sort, something that passes understanding. The wet, heavy air that deadens the soul, puts a lump of indigestible lead in the solar plexus, depresses and fatigues the flesh until one seems to lift himself leadenly through the thick, wet, steaming air. With this terrible kind of fear, an excitement that is without hope, that awaits only the news of some further grief, failure or humiliation and torture. A lassitude that enters the soul and makes one hope for better things and better work tomorrow but hope without belief and conviction.
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While I generally dislike economic models of ministry, I increasing feel like we’re trapped in what I call a Field of Dreams model. Thinking that if we “build it they will come,” we focus on supplying programs when it seems more and more like there’s an abundant supply and less and less demand.
Knowing it is both our “duty and delight that we should everywhere and at all times offer our thanks and praise”, and understanding that only the Spirit can truly bestow “demand,” how can we cooperate with the Spirit to instill delight in the absence of a sense of duty? God’s first call is to “come.” I don’t recall ever seeing “If you feel like it and have nothing better to do, come, follow me.” If we come, He will build, not the other way around.
Not trying to let myself off the hook. We need to discover and meet people’s needs, but we’re all ministers. God didn’t call any of us to just sit at home. It’s hard to discover and meet needs if people aren’t coming and getting involved.
Dear Gigantic, Multinational, Trans-Global, Mega Conglomerate,
Would you please figure out a way to monetize and commodify Thanksgiving so people don’t forget about it? McDonald’s is already selling candy cane McFlurries and egg nog milkshakes, and Hallmark had a Christmas movie on today.
You’ve done it with Halloween, that little nothing of a holiday for primary schoolers you turned into a vast trans-generational 2-month long sugar-infested, Zombie bash. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I have fond memories of many good ones, but now it’s just the day before Black Friday. How can you let that happen?
Please help me preserve this rich, rustic and robust tradition. I will ignore you, just like I do at Halloween and Easter (and try mightily to do at Christmas, but fail), but at least it won’t just disappear like Candlemass or Royal Oak Day. Or be merged into Thanksmas like Presidents’ Day.
Remember: It’s all gravy.