Sunday, October 21, 2007

Processing "Purple Martyrdom"

I woke up this morning thinking about the implications of Purple Martyrdom…and I was struck by two things: my personal “purple” and CovenantClusters. And since they kind of go together, I thought I would tell a bit of that story.

My story is one of being called to a ministry of equipping while being broken. I was grateful that Bill (Rose-Heim) was willing to hear my story during our time at Seabeck, because I hadn’t really ever told the whole story in “3D”, as it were. Here’s some of the gist.

I can’t remember a time when I did not want to serve God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Growing up in a church-planter’s home with a brother and four sisters, active involvement in ministry was part of all of our lives. Imagine my shock when I lived away from home for the first time (senior year of high school in Hawaii with aunt and uncle…story for another time) and was confronted with the “fact” that I was unable to continue to serve in my obvious gifts—because I was a girl.

I’m not going to go there this morning…but it was the first bit of brokenness: rejection.

Since God did not remove the desire to equip (nor the confirming gifts), I learned to do what I could when the opportunity presented itself. I learned at Seabeck that this is known as "making do."

The second area of brokenness had to do with perceived value. As the youngest of six, it’s hard not to want to be like your older siblings…and harder for others not to expect it. I happened to have outrageously gifted siblings. Each of them seemed to have some special ability that made them stand out.

I clearly remember the routine when I got to 9th grade. All four of my sisters had attended the same school. When teachers learned that I was “a Carter girl” they always asked, “Oh, and what do you do?” Hmmm…what did I do? Well I did a bit of everything…just not as well as any of them. It was the beginning of the realization that I was the dreaded cousin of the polymath: the jack of all trades—master of none. And so the next bit of brokenness: ordinariness—“nothing special.”

Being that I hadn’t yet internalized that I could not serve as my heart desired, and I wasn’t anything particularly special, I continued to study and serve wherever I could…which happened to be in lots of different places. Whatever needed doing I seemed to be able to figure out how to get it done. Nothing special, mind you….

And while I wasn’t looking, I turned into a young woman full of zeal for all the things of God…in a time and place where young men didn’t know quite what to do with such a young woman. I had dreamed of serving as a minister’s wife—it hadn’t yet occurred to me that there might be another outlet. Unfortunately, my piano skills weren’t quite up to snuff…and I was way too much “Mary” for any of the dynamic, up-and-coming young ministry-minded men. They loved to talk the deep things of ministry with me, but they wanted to marry a “Martha.” (Unintended pun, there….Mary--marry) Sharing the depth of brokenness from this realization is definitely something for another time.

So let’s introduce CovenantClusters…and Purple.

CovenantClusters is the vision I believe God entrusted to my combination of imagination and faith for a neo-monastic, incarnational-missional, intentional disciple-making community-planting movement. Not going to unpack that today—that’s part of the mission of this blog…

But have a closer look at the logo….

I noticed all the "colors" of martyrdom: “Red” in the cross—a symbol of martyrdom; “Green” in the leaves that enable the utilization of the sun’s energy; “White” all around--the extraction of the vine from an obvious “vineyard” or monastery; …and “Purple” in the fruit—meant to be crushed, its juice extracted from the pulp and turned into “new wine” for new wineskins.

Whoa…I’m gonna spend some time processing this before moving on. Your comments are, as always, welcome.

Be blessed…stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

Hi,Peggy from sister #4. Funny, this morning I was catching up on my reading in "My Utmost for His Highest" (it got buried in one of the children's rooms) and then checked my email and saw your blog announcement. After reading your entries,something clicked and it reminded me of what I just read for Sept 30. "God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers He uses to crush us with" -there's more. I like the way he writes and thinks. Anyway, I think we have to dwell less on the pain and more on the fact that perhaps we are finally becoming who God intended us to be. PS Hope you don't get addicted to blogging. Short and sweet. Or you'll lose busy people from your audience. I love you!

AbiSomeone said...

Hello, WK...I knew the Napa Valley sister would get the grapes/wine stuff ;^)

I do not intend to "dwell" on the pain...but I don't want to dismiss it either. That's kind of the point that will be coming out in later posts...

Too late...already addicted to blogging (other people's)...but I do hope that my blogging time will be better spent this way.

I can do short and sweet if I have to...I'll do my best to practice some significant restraint.

Love you right back!

Ed Brenegar said...

I'm fascinated by what you are suggesting here by the purple martyrdom. When I was in seminary almost thirty years ago - yikes, has it been that long ago? - there were many of us who found the life of the desert fathers fascinating because it was so a-typical to what we had experienced in the church. It was sort of like missionary work on steroids. What we loved about it was the absolute commitment? Such is the passion of young servants.

You are offering a very unique and special voice to the church. One that is needed, and I pray, graciously received and widely read. I'm already contemplating who is going to hear from me about your blog.

May God bless all those who come in touch with your blog and your ministry. I can't wait to learn more. Thank you very much.

AbiSomeone said...

Hello, Ed!

Thanks for stopping by. It is the absolute commitment that is both attractive and, in so many ways, missing from leadership development methodologies.

I hope to begin to address it is my small corner of the blogosphere and in my 3D neighborhood.

I am glad to have you as a companion of this journey!

Be blessed,