Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New York and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality ... An Oxymoron?

We departed LAX and arrived in New York on time at both ends. We were picked up by Laurel Favilla, who serves as Pete Scazzero's assistant. We've become good friends over the last couple years as we've worked together. It was great to reconnect with her and a real honor that she wanted to pick us up at JFK.

Navigating through JFK seemed flawless. As soon as we arrived at the baggage claim, our bags were right there. As soon as we exited baggage claim, there was Laurel!

Checking in at our hotel around 4:00 pm EDT, we settled in and prepared to depart for Manhattan, about a 15 minute walk and 30 minute ride on the subway. Just before we left Chuck's room, I remembered to go and grab the really nice camera graciously loaned to me by my brother-in-law, Dan.

When I went back to my room to pick through my suitcase, I discovered the camera WAS MISSING!! It had been removed from my suitcase. Instead of making our way to Manhattan, we spent the next 45 minutes or so on the phone with the airline to report the theft.

I felt horrible, as my brother-in-law had somewhere around 350 pictures on the memory card in the camera. The airline representative was so careful to apologize for the inconvenience and yet remind me that the airlines expressly state they are not responsible for electronic equipment in luggage. OUCH!

Off we went into the 38 degree New York air (brrrrr...) and down Queens Blvd., which you'll find to have an unfortunate reputation if you click the link. However, we made it through with no problems, and found our way to Times Square, my favorite part of New York. The lights and energy of Times Square are amazing!

Tomorrow, we'll leave the hotel after rush hour to head back to Manhattan. Some of the days anticipated highlights will include Ground Zero, the Empire State Building and Grand Central Station. Laurel's husband, Andrew, works at Grand Central. He has offered to give us a "behind the scenes" tour and some history about Grand Central. That should be a real treat!

As we are approaching this conference, I've had the thought strike me that it is surely interesting that God would have a Pastor from New York birth something called "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality".

A large part of EHS has to do with Sabbath rest, slowing down long enough to allow the Lord to really work deep into our lives. Seems to me that Emotionally Healthy Spirituality in a place like New York City is almost an oxymoron. Talk about swimming upstream!

We could say something similar about trying to teach and disciple people in Emotional Health and Spiritual Maturity in Southern California. Our lifestyles are way too fast to allow this to be the powerful truth that it is.

Fostering an atmosphere in your life where the Lord can truly move and shape and re-work and re-wire our hearts requires intentionality about our spiritual and relational growth in the Spirit and with one another. But who has time for that?

Hear me everyone! I believe it is possible, but not without some cost! We can't live life the way everyone else is living it, even when it comes to (maybe ESPECIALLY when it comes to) busy-ness and activity.

Jesus constantly modeled a pattern and rhythm of life and leadership that included sufficient time for rest, refreshment ... Sabbath ... daily, not even just weekly. Why would we expect it should be any different for us? Why would we buy into the way of the world around us when it relates to busy-ness and activity?

Enough of my soapbox .... Good night for now!


Pastor Bernie Federmann said...

Paul, you are a great guy. You and the SHOE be careful out there. Enjoy your time and rest....and bless you my friend.

Ray said...

Sorry to hear about the camera. Hope your visit gets better and is inspirational. I found that a walk through Central Park can be relaxing. It's a little touch of peace amoungst the cement and chaos. Stay safe.

Laurel said...

Paul, I too am saddened to hear about the loss of your BIL's camera. I had no idea!

After reading on your post here about the irony of Pete starting an Emotionally Heathly Spirituality ministry in the heart of NYC, which is indeed quite contrary to our culture (but not to God's heart!!!), I thought I'd point out another oxymoron in regard to your references and we at NLF.

As you know, we are located right on Queens Blvd. I have always felt it was part of God's way of redeeming the area for Him, that New Life Fellowship was established on the "Boulevard of Death". He is an amazing God is He not?