More Than Enough

Blog — By on May 29, 2009 at 4:43 am

“It is not that what is is not enough, for it is; it is that what is has been disarranged, and is crying out to be put in place.”
- Madeleine L’Engle, Walking On Water

In the current Christian subculture, “more” is the order of the day. Cries like “Isn’t there more?” abound in almost every book written and conference attended. “There’s got to be more” falls from the lips of many a disgruntled church member and hides in the lines of many of the top 100 love songs to Jesus. Now I understand “holy discontent” and wanting to know more of God; that’s not what I’m talking about here. There’s a discontent behind this current verbiage that doesn’t feel holy at all.  It bothers me, kinda like a burr under the saddle or a bone in the throat. 

I came across Madeleine’s words the other day and they stopped me in my boots, literally, because that’s what I always wear. It really felt like she was articulating what I was feeling. What if what is is enough? What if the people and places and things of my life, right now, are enough? What if the dis-ease that I feel or experience is because the “enough” of my life has been “disarranged and is crying out to be put in place”?  Mercy, Madeleine, I wish you were still around. 

Her words rang true to me. I’m not talking about NOT seeking out new faces and places and experiences; shucks, I’m a seeker and always have been – a rover, a wanderer/wonderer. Honest seeking coupled with some good old fashioned doubt is a vital part of the life of faith. But the current quest for “more” that I see and hear feels dangerously close to the F-word – yes, that’s right – fickle.  It’s almost a stance of I’m-not-of-this-world-and-I-really-don’t-want-to-be-in-it-either. Which is quite close to I-don’t-want-to-do-the-hard-work-required-to-rearrange-things. Which is the kissing cousin to, well, laziness. And there you have it folks – laziness cloaked in the guise of “surely there’s more” and when the veil is removed the real words are “surely there’s more than my fallen husband and my fallen church and this fallen suburb and these fallen blog writers…”

Madeleine had me at hello, so I kept reading a little further down the page.  She very clearly told me, and now you, just who it is that is desperately needed in this disarranged world. Guess who?  Yep, artists.  But that doesn’t mean wearing a raspberry beret or black turtlenecks; no, it means men and women and children and uncles and emergents and regressives and folks who read Burnside and folks who watch reruns of Ironside, yes, all of us, putting our hands to the plow of co-laboring with God in the rearrangement of the world that is. You might even say, “His Kingdom coming and His will being done.”


Well, that’s enough. 
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    2 Comments

  • Larry Shallenberger says:

    Thanks for the John. I recommend Jeremiah Burrows, a religous futigive from an earlier time. His book THE RARE JEWEL OF CHRISTIAN CONTENTMENT takes a phenominological look at the art of being content.

  • Kim Gottschild says:

    Oh, John, your post was right on time. As the kids’ summer break starts today, I find myself dealing with their need for “more,” and mine. Everything has to be special or exciting, and it’s not always. Life is what it is, and I’m going to be teaching my kids, and myself this summer to be content with what is. This mindset about “more” is certainly suported at church – particularly at Sunday school with everything being special and exciting all the time. And it’s also conveyed at school, kids’ birthday parties, sports. Our adult discontentedness and boredom with life – spiritual or not- has translated into fully spoiling our kids and I’m through with it. I think, though, the bigger challenge is overcoming my own need for “more” in order to undo what has been modeled or my children.

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