Pottery, nonprofits and for-profit consulting. Exploring synergies between the three and ideology specific to each.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Pottery in Church?

Yup - you read correctly - pottery in church... I started the New Year on stage with my buddy Ben (aka, Pastor Ben @ Northridge Fellowship in Rogers, MN). We spent about 25 minutes or so exploring the potter/clay metaphor that is found in Jeremiah in hopes of giving attendees the opportunity to view their spiritual walks in a new way.

In short, we broke it down like so...

1. Throwin' - it's tough to throw a piece of pottery with extra-stiff clay or extremely soft clay. It's also next to impossible to make a piece if the clay isn't centered on the wheel. The spiritual walk is pretty much the same cup o' tea - our hearts can't be so hardened that we're not open to direction, nor can they be so pliable that we can be swayed with little effort - we need to be steadfast, centered, and balanced in our pursuit of our Maker.

2. Refinin' - alot of folks see a 'finished' piece on the wheel and think we're done. The time on the wheel represents about 10% of the commitment the piece requires. While the time on the wheel establishes the pieces basic form and function, it doesn't represent what it will one day be. The piece is set aside to firm up so that text can be imprinted and so that excess clay can be trimmed off and its final form established. Spiritually, refining can be a painful process. It's hard to be the clay as God trims away the things that are not of Him. We have the option of remaining fat-n-sassy, but we don't achieve the potential (or the beauty) that He has placed within us if we do.

3. Firin' - two firings with some glazing in between. 1800 and 2300 degrees respectively. Ouch babe. What struck both Ben and I about firing is the fact that, while the potter has a vision of what he or she is going for with a specific piece, the kiln can alter the final product in a heartbeat - place a piece in a cool spot or a hot spot and the outcome can be very different. While the spiritual metaphor breaks down a bit (God knows exACTly what He's going for with each of us), it is a good reminder that our preconceived notions are rarely God's exact vision for our lives. Being open to the surprises - both joyous and painful are what we're called to do - obedience and trust are the recurring themes...

So there you have it in a nutshell... another deep moment with Uncle Pete at the potter's wheel....


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