Confused Identity

“Kia mura tonu nga ahi kaa
mo te matemateaone”
Keep the home fires burning,
so loved ones will always return.”

I am looking for a home fire, and wanting to surround my campfire with other travellers, artists, thinkers, lovers, friends, companions that will enrich both my own faith but also make a lasting impact on the surroundings we live in. To burn a fire that will both warm, light, consume and refine people who gather around it.

Now, I am at war with myself, and others, as to where that fire is. Where it should be. Where it must be. Where it could be. All these questions and possiblities float like smouldering ash from a bonfire. Whether work and home in pastoral, missional life can interact and serve one another.

And I am looking for a home fire for my immediate community.. and that is where the personal and ministry stories intersect. We are predominantly a white, middle class modernly styled, seeker-friendly youth – adult congregation that meets on Sunday evenings on the North Shore of Auckland. We are a large community, and that both helps and hinders us.

The kind of people that I would gather around my campfire, are not necessarily those who gather around this one, but I sense one has something to offer the other in complimentary parts.

Yesterday’s conversations with Brian W, highlighted that although I believe incorporating more of the arts and Emerging practice into our evening gatherings would be of enormous benefit to some.. the reality is that enrichment can sound presumptious, educational can sound arrogant.. and too much experimentation can overwhelm the voice and power of simplicity. I’ve been reading Edward de Bono’s book on Simplicity. Which raises the question of Confused Identity.

If one week I am leading the music team above, in pop/rock choruses, with the occasional hymn thrown in for effect, and the immediate week after, I am asking them to trust me to lead them through a labyrinth…. is that remotely fair?

Small steps, small steps, and in careful constructed pathways.

I was so wary that creativity as an idea of ‘good practice’ would become the inevitable goal in this process.. and I think that we are on the cusp of that now. So two big steps back, reframe, breathe again… and think simple.

I’m lighting a fire, and I have to start with kindling, fuel and a small match before I can lay the heavy logs on.. after all, this is meant to be a fire that burns slowly, and for a long time, the kind of fire that invites the visitor, not simply burns and roars in the faces of the familiar. And perhaps… I have an obligation to be the match. Or a desire to be. I know that I want to love these ones into my campfire, and make a home for them there.

All at once, I am charismatic worship leader, songwriter, poet, painter, youth pastor, colleague, student, teacher, leader, voice, ear. I am indeed confused. No wonder, music leading has been hard these past few weeks. It’s become over-complicated and pulled in too many different directions. I am breathing deep, I am thinking… “be aware of the roles, not defined by them”.. I am thinking.. tend the fire first. I am thinking of loved ones, and how I can guide them to this place. I am thinking of the desert where this fire will burn, and I am praying very hard. I am asking… how can I make this a fun place to be?

Kure kwandinoenda, asi ndichakusvika chete – Where we are going is far, but we will eventually get there.

Isn’t is amazing what a few candles, crimson flowers & a white tablecloth will do for a mid-winter pot-luck dinner? As we gathered the music team last night, I felt a lot of pleasure in who they are as people. There was no inspirational talking.. just conversation, food, gifts (from small to ridiculous), music.