"I will end up dust, I'm in heaven"

I'm probably going to get a lot of flak for this, but one of my enduring 90's guilty pleasures is being a fan of Depeche Mode. Go ahead, have your laugh. For those of who don't know them, they've been around since the early 80's and are known for their electronic-alternative-new wave-synthpop sound. I've been a fan since their 1993 release Songs of Faith and Devotion. They are not a Christian group, nor are any of their members religious, but their writing certainly has spiritual overtones and uses religious imagery.

They were recently on NPR talking about their new album and performed a small set in the NPR studio. Below is a video taken from that session, of their new single Heaven (man they're getting old!). During this season of Lent, this song is particularly poignant for me as I reach the end of my seminary studies and await assignment and hopefully a call to an ELCA congregation. For me, the song highlights the sacrifice of entering the ministry, especially for an introvert like myself, as well as the heavy responsibility associated with it.

Sometimes I slide away
I slowly lose myself
Over and over
Take comfort in my skin
Surrender to my will
Forever and ever

I dissolve in trust
I will sing with joy
I will end up dust
I'm in heaven

I stand in golden rays
I burn a fire of love
Over and over
Reflecting endless light
I have embraced the flame
Forever and ever

I will scream the word
Jump into the void
I will guide the herd
Up to heaven

Heaven, written by Martin L. Gore


So, We're Giving Up Church For Lent

I wish this blog had a great explanation for why we are doing this, but I know that by the end of this post, many of you will be scratching your head, me included.

My family and I are regular church goers. Like many church goers, we have the occasional Sundays when one or more, or all of us really don't feel like going, or when one or more or all of us actually don't go for a variety of reasons. All that being said, going to worship has been a normal part of our lives for as long as our little family has been around.

I've never been one to give up something for Lent. However, I do fast on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter). But as far as giving up sweets, or beer (gasp!), or anything like that, it's just never really been my thing.

However, lately I have been feeling a pull to do something for Lent. I searched online and found a ton of great ideas, like this one from our United Methodist siblings: Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. But most of the ideas that I found are either too time consuming or, to be honest, require too much commitment. If I don't think I can do something completely and do it well, I usually choose not to do it, that's just my personality.

So, the other day it occurred to me, what would happen if we gave up church for Lent? Just stopped going for six Sundays in a row. What affect would that have on us? Hmmmm. But I couldn't make this decision on my own.

So, yesterday I told my wife about this idea and you would have thought I was speaking a foreign language. She just wasn't getting it. It took a while for her to even compute what I was saying.

Last night at dinner, I shared my idea with the rest of the family and to my surprise, my 8 and 12 year olds literally yelled out "No!" After we talked about it, their curiosity peaked, like mine has, and we decided to go ahead with it, whatever it is. A Lenten discipline? An experiment?

I know it sounds crazy. It may even sound plain wrong. But it doesn't feel wrong. Of course, it could be disastrous, but I've learned to trust my instincts. I told God the other day that if this was a bad idea than he better let me know, and soon! God was silent...but not in a bad way.

So off we go, on this Lenten...whatever-we're-calling-this. May God bless your own Lenten journey, in whatever form it takes. Pray for us. I'll be praying for you, just not in church.