Re-entry was the non-topic yesterday as we traveled home from Florida and our 2016 summer study break. The moment the subject of re-entry came up, someone else shut it down. Nobody wanted to talk about it, but we knew we had to.
For the re-entry process of spacecrafts, millions of dollars are spent. Re-entry is about friction and drag. If not navigated correctly, you’ll crash and burn.
Rob Irvine talks about re-entry a lot when a team is coming home from Kenya. Typically, during our Fall Kenya trips, our teams are coming back to Christmas time in America. This weird re-entry happens just after said teams have trudged through the slums of Kibera or the huts of widows or the orphanages of Kenya HIV orphans. Re-entry can be hard.
Michael had a new backpack waiting for him when we got home last night. School is days away. He’ll be a freshman. He didn’t want to look or touch his new backpack. Re-entry.
Driving north on I-75, we hit Atlanta traffic yesterday at 4:30. What had been swift driving most of the day suddenly came to a crawl. The outside temperature gauge read 102. Re-entry. As we pulled into the driveway, I noticed my grass. For two weeks it had not been mowed. Re-entry.
We had a stack of mail and bills. Re-entry. Sherry starts back at her job this morning. As she was crawling in bed, she smiled and whispered, “I think I’m going to have to call in sick tomorrow!” Re-entry.
I’m writing this last study break blog from my office at 6:30 a.m. Re-entry. If not navigated properly, you can crash and burn. There can be friction and drag. I’m feeling that.
From a beautiful Florida beach, I immersed myself in reading and thoughts concerning culture. Mark Sayers gave excellent direction on the culture the Church must operate in. “Facing Leviathan” & “Disappearing Church” define the battle well without caving to the very gates of hell we are to attack. Mark Devers (“Discipling”) and Randy Pope (“The Intentional Church”) both gave helpful and hopeful strategies concerning discipleship. I loved Pope’s depth. I appreciated Dever’s simplicity of having Gospel conversations beyond formalized curriculums.
Eugene Peterson framed Jeremiah’s battle with culture well in “Run With The Horses.” What Jeremiah did, we can do as well.
Danielle Strickland gave an artistic expression of how God operates in chaos and mess. Her book, “A Beautiful Mess” was a good read for my soul and helps keep God in perspective with my mess — let alone our culture’s.
Finally, Will Mancini’s “God Dreams” may be what is most need for my re-entry. This book is, perhaps, my heat shield for re-entry. There were many affirmations of the work we’ve done this past year at CCC. However, there are many ideas to implement in focusing our vision and mission. Mancini writes, “Vision without execution is a daydream, and execution without vision is a nightmare.”
There are things we need to work on to simplify and focus our efforts. Are we able to see 5+ years down the road while celebrating God victories within a 90-day scope as well? How will we God-size our dreams and labors? This begins the work of re-entry.
Part of our re-entry process yesterday was watching “School of Rock” during the van ride home. Jack Black is classic. After rocking a new tune, he turns to Freddy the drummer and says, “OK, Freddy, that was awesome. You’re rocking, but it’s a little sloppy-joe. Tighten up the screws, OK?” “God Dreams” can help us tighten up the screws in areas that are a little sloppy-joe.
I’m going to be a bit slower to unpack details of this study break with staff and elders. A lot is going on within the culture, the Church, and CCC for me to be too quick.
So… my heat shield is up. Everything needed to survive and thrive is there. After all, re-entry brings you home. It engages the normalcy of life in the real world again. It allows you to work with the people you love. It grounds you. With God’s help, the friction and drag will not keep His church from prevailing. It’s time to get back at it.
Postscript: Michael read Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place.” Morgan read “Popular: Boys, Booze, and Jesus” by Tindell Baldwin. Sherry read a couple Francine River’s books: “Echo In The Darkness” & “As Sure As The Dawn.” As a family, we memorized Psalm 91. That was fun and funny (hope to have a video of this soon). I listened to Gungor, Rich Mullins, Kings Kaleidoscope, Michael W. Smith, All Sons & Daughters, and Hillsong Young And Free as I walked along the beach. I also read through John and Revelation. It might be time we studied through Revelation as a church. I’ve taught through Revelation twice before. We also rode bikes, paddle boarded, walked the beach, and watched fishermen on the piers. Brooklynn and Lauren were able to come down for two days. It was a superb study break.