A Vagabond Heart & a holy discontentment—Day #2 of the 30 day challenge to blog

The heart is a fascinating mystery, isn’t it? I’m up before 6am this morning because I can’t sleep, so it’s a perfect time to write. I am withdrawing from my medication that I’m on for depression. It’s my own damn fault, and only a little bit of the insurance company & pharmacy. But yesterday was maybe one of the worst crazy days I’ve ever had. And I do mean crazy. My beautiful bride though was wonderful. She was there for me. She’s already seen me at my worst, and now she’s seen me at my craziest. In the midst of yesterdays, irrational emotions and tears there was a beauty that transpired. At one of the many peaks of despair yesterday, she said “You’re not your feelings. Don’t forget, this doesn’t make you who you are.” I love you my beautiful bride. Thank you for yesterday.

I’m assuming every heart is different, but my heart seems to have a mind of it’s own. It’s it’s own vagabond. This morning I found myself missing my grandpa. He’s was maybe the best and sweetest Jewish grandpa you could ask for. The last day I saw him alive I remember my 88 year old grandpa cutting potatoes for my grandma, because she wanted soup. Not that big of deal I suppose, but my 88 year old grandpa was dying. He had cancer. And he was cutting potatoes in May, and wouldn’t be alive to see September. My heart holds on to that image of my Grandpa. I think we all have images for each other, like a rolodex. Maybe it’s someone’s smile, or eyes, or an act of kindness like cutting potatoes.

I’ve often said if I wasn’t a Christian, I’d be Jewish. And I say that because of my grandpa. And I think it’s because of his love for me. Oh sure I’ve always been drawn to my heritage. I’ve been drawn to the culture, the history, the love affair between God & his people.

Another way I’ve said it is I am Jewish, I just believe Jesus is the messiah. See I’m convinced that salvation comes through the Jewish People. How God has interacted with humanity, is through his radical love affair, constant pursuit, and never ceasing grace with Israel. I know it seems like an oxymoron, but not to me. Although, I know in my heart…in saying that it makes me feel close to my grandpa. It’s because of my Grandpa that I’m drawn to the Jewish culture and my heritage. I remember getting such a kick when I was told from someone in my family once that we were from the tribe of Levi… because before Schultz we were Kohen’s…and actually were only Schultz because they changed it at Ellis Island. It was Von Stoltz…and then those stupid Americans had to go and write it down wrong…I think I’d feel tougher if My name was David Leo Von Stoltz. Like Ivan Drago from Rocky 4…what the hell am I talking about? Oh yeah my grandpa…I miss him so much. I wish he could have lived to meet Lucy. I can just imagine his eyes lighting up holding her. And her eyes lighting up being held by him. I can’t mention my Grandpa without mentioning my Aunt Bobbie. I believe God gave me a special relationship with my Aunt when Grandpa died. Bobbie was Grandpa’s little girl. Like Lucy is to me. I believe we are connected by our affection for Grandpa and our family. As I’m not really close to anyone on my Dad’s side anymore, not even my Dad, except my aunt Bobbie & her lovely wife Jeanie. I love them. And I’m lucky enough that they love me back. We are spending Christmas with them this year, and I can barely wait. My aunt Bobbie and I couldn’t be more different. She’s a planner. Like a super planner. And I barely know if I’m wearing pants, or where they are are at any given time. But I like that were different. I think you can take people for granted to easily when they are too much like you. When they are different, there are endless avenues and experiences to be had on the road of friendship to get to know each other.

Well, I think I better reign in my A.D.D. here or this will be Day #2 I have never gotten to what I wanted to write about, yet sometimes things are connected for a reason, even if they are beyond you.

If you’re a Christian you’ll know this to be true, but we live in a time where even Christians don’t want to go to church. If you were born after the year 1980, you’ll notice a massive amount of people who actually claim to be a Christian (and I assume they are) yet don’t want to go to church. Now if you’re not an aficionado in the evangelical Christianity, let me explain that to us the church, is not a building, but a people. Yet just because two Christians hang out in a coffee shop it doesn’t exactly make it a church. Not without elders, sacraments, spiritual authority etc…There’s two sides, and that’s probably minimizing the issue here of what’s going on with this massive exodus of the Church. Sure, we live in a post-Christian society. Which, at least in America, I’m not very sad about it. Because when you live in America it’s so easy to commercialize everything, or fast-food it, or microwave it…and in someways that’s what I think happened to the church, and to Christianity in general. If I wasn’t lazy I’d probably do my homework to see where all this prosperity gospel bullshit came from…my guess is sometime after Burger King came up with the slogan…”Your way, right away”…

The two sides to the fence on this issue is this. One side is, which I happen to agree with is, as Rich Mullins said…”The church is not a man made invention, but a God-made invention.”…and the church is people…messy people…hypocritical people…sinful people…and some of them are even saved…and you can’t live out walking with Christ in solitude, but only in community…all good stuff right? And the other side, I happen to agree with too, anti-organized religion…which I get I don’t like to be organized…but in all seriousness I get…this whole thing with Jesus & the church, not too unlike our Jewish Heritage, is supposed to be about a love affair with God…and then you add in structure, church politics, and then church tends to breed in-authenticity, because that’s where and is…the easiest place for self-righteous folks to hide…in plain sight…This side has had enough. They’ve been hurt, judged, beat up, and are just flat out sick of it. There’s no one reason, because this isn’t happening to just one person. There are many people, and many reasons. Thus, not making it an easy conversation. But that’s roughly the two sides (the abbreviated version).

Where do I fall? Probably the most honest answer is both. My brain has the correct theology of church…maybe, and yet most Sundays I have to drag my ass out of bed. My honest confession is I’ve been a church hopper, shopper, & stopper. I’ve spent way too many Sundays choosing to cross my arms and bitch, and be super judgemental & critical versus taking the time to join my brothers and sisters in worshiping the Abba Father of Jesus…even if the music does suck.

The Church will always be, but I think the church model of how we “do church” has a shelf life on it. The model that we are still basing it on, was born out of how towns and cities were built. The church was built in the middle of town, and everything metaphorically and literally was built surrounding this. And while it’s taken many shapes and forms even the current model of Church was born out of this. I think it’s a broken system. And not like in that way of it’s broken, just like your dysfunctional Thanksgiving Dinner with aunt sally…but it’s family so let’s just go and endure. No, I mean broken, and it needs to change.

Now I will say, I don’t think it’s a mature excuse to use to not be a part of the church, if you call yourself a Christian. My good friend Dave Mullins, has this great example. He used to be a pastor in Indiana, and then moved to florida, and got plugged into a church. When over the holidays they went back to Indiana, some friends asked him if they found a church down in Florida…and Dave said…”Oh yeah!”…and they said…”Do you like it?”…and he said…”Oh, about 40%”…and they said…then why do you go if you only like it “40%”…and he said…”Because it’s a great thing to go to a church that you only like 40% because it’s a great reminder that church isn’t about you”….

He’s right. Church is supposed to be about “we” not “me”…it’s supposed to be about jesus, loving and serving each other, and especially loving the city and serving the city in which we live. And we sure as hell can’t accomplish a lot by ourselves…So this whole bull shit thing of Justin Beiber saying…”you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian.”…He’s only half right. Which means he’s half wrong. But what do you expect, he’s young. When I was his age I also thought a lot of dumb shit. Don’t believe everything a famous actor or singer is folks. Taking life and political advice from a famous or rich actor or musician makes as much sense as asking a mechanic to bake you a cake. It’s true it’s Jesus that does the saving, so you may be a Christian if you don’t go to church, but you certainly can’t live it out, or grow in your faith with out the them.

I’ve often if that this massive exodus of the church, and almost unanimous discontentment in the church isn’t a bad thing, but a holy thing. Sacrilegious, right? Stick with me for a second. I’m not saying God wants to destroy the church. The church is the bride of Christ. Of course not. But he may want blow the whole thing up because he loves her…because as Jesus said…”You can’t pour new wine into old wineskins”…and I wonder if this massive discontentment is not born out of sinfulness as much as it is the spirit of God…I’m not trying to give nominal christians a license to withdraw from the body of Christ here…I’m just saying..I don’t think new programming, having worship like a rock concert, trying to be cool, and a model of church that was born in an entertainment culture is such a healthy thing. Because God loves us, he wants us to be healthy…so why would he want us to continue on in our unhealthiness?

Now let me get really pissed off for a second. If I have to sit through one more damn sermon of Jesus +________=__________. I’m going to loose my (enter a really bad cuss word here) mind. I’ve sat through too many sermons at various churches around southern california where they think they have to make Jesus relevant. Jesus doesn’t need you to make him relevant. He’s been getting along fine without you.

What I’m trying to say is this. Stop trying to sell Jesus. While yes it’s not the prosperity gospel in many church’s, to me, it’s a stones through. And I think it’s born out of the need to try and sell Jesus. Or sell the gospel. If you were in my living room right now, I would simply say…”JUST STOP!”

To me the hope of the gospel is not…Jesus plus health, or Jesus plus wealth, or Jesus plus faith, or Jesus plus morality, Or Jesus plus happiness, or Jesus plus stability, or Jesus plus a family, or Jesus plus a job, or Jesus plus a spouse, or Jesus plus ANYTHING…and yet I can’t count how many sermons I’ve heard around this country where that’s what they are preaching. The gospel is that God sent his son Jesus to die for your sins to bring you into a relationship with him. And if you believe and accept that, when he looks at you, he no longer sees the sin of your past, present, and future…when he looks at you he see’s Jesus…His son…and he see’s you as holy, and perfect, and spotless…because he’s seeing Jesus, the God/man, who laid down his life for his friend…YOU. Why? Because he’s wild, and beautiful and truly loves you, and doesn’t give a shit what you’ve done or what you’ve been through…”He loves you as you are, not as you should be, because none of us are as we should be”…He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. And he even likes you. Salvation is merely “accepting the fact that you are accepted.”

That’s the gospel. And to make it even simpler, The good news of the gospel of Jesus is this…we get JESUS…not jesus plus …not jesus + this or that…and YET…that’s what is being paraded around our churches…in so many churches they are trying to sell Jesus plus something because they think he’s not enough. Pastors. Missionaries. Christians…he’s enough. Why the hell do you think Paul was in prison, smiling, singing songs to Jesus? Why do you think he said “I consider everything rubbish (shit) compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus.”

I swear, if I hear one more sermon like that on a sunday morning, I might just get up throw my vanilla latte at you, and start screaming…”It’s just Jesus you asshole”…Stop selling the Gospel like it’s a Big Mac…and stop treating this church service like it’s a Burger King drive through…

The good news of the gospel is this…jesus loves you. That’s it. It’ him. It’s the not gifts of God. It’s God himself. That’s the good news.

You know one of my best friend isn’t a christian, and he loves me anyway. You may be reading this and not be a christian. Thank you for letting me rant and rave. I’m just so sick of the Christian gospel being preached like a big mac. No more “would you like fries with that theology”…no more.

Man the church pisses me off, and much like my grandpa has given me an affinity for my Jewish heritage… Jesus has given me an affinity for himself…

Alright I got to shit, shower, and shave. I’m late for a meeting.

Love you all, and more importantly the God who has ambushed my soul love you more.

David Leo Schultz

Alright I got to shit, shower, and shave. I’m late for a meeting.

Love you all, and more importantly the God who has ambushed my soul love you more.

David Leo Schultz

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~ by David Leo Schultz on October 9, 2015.

One Response to “A Vagabond Heart & a holy discontentment—Day #2 of the 30 day challenge to blog”

  1. David…I am LOVING the 30 day challenge. I want to copy a little of this and out it on my FB page. ..the gospel explained bottom line. Keep it comin’ friend. Your writing reminds me a lot od thw style of Frederick Buechner, my favorite author. Keep it comin’!

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