Just because I had a Superman cake for my 23rd birthday (thanks to my awesome cake-making machine of a friend, Michelle) and the exact same--yes, 1980s cake molds are still around-- for my 8th birthday doesn't make me an official Superman geek. But, you could say I've enjoyed my share of his movies and tv spin-offs in my day. Yeah, I'll shame myself once again...I'm also a Smallville watcher. And I'll be in line opening week for the latest film about the man of steel, which'll be out in less than two months.
So, where am I heading with all this Superman talk...as I was finishing up Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis last week, I got to thinking about his discussion about "my Superwhatever." For Bell, his Superwhatever was being Superpastor at Mars Hill and he realized this while sitting in a storage closet minutes before he was to go out and "save the day" by giving another home run teaching to the thousands attending their weekend gathering. For yours truly, as I read the account of his realization and subsequent awakening to a renewed role as a pastor, I was hit upside the head with my subconscious role as Supersupportraiser. And God's taking me to a renewed place as his son, trying to be faithful with what he's put in my path.
Now, since I have a small audience here, which by and large is well aware of why I am raising support, I don't have to give a monologue here about it (if you're curious, see sidebar). But here's the gist of my realization. Results. Efficiency. Productivity. Successful. These are all words that I would love to use to describe any type of work that I put my hands to. I did get an engineering degree after all :) So, naturally as I transition to raising support in order to be a career missionary, I want to be "successful." (What is success really, but to love God with passion and to love others with compassion?). Without even knowing it, I was one, two, three months into raising support with this thought tucked in the back of my mind, right underneath my medula oblongata somewhere:
So, there it is. That's was the fuel for my engine. Well, at least part of my fuel. I couldn't let others see that it took me so long to raise support. It is still my primary desire to back in Champaign, Illinois as quickly as possible, but I'm realizing more and more (and God uses stuff like support raising to help me see clearly) that life is about becoming more like Christ and knowing God more intimately rather than being "successful" at something in the eyes of the world or even in the eyes of those who are closest to me. So, if it takes me a year, then I will not see it as a year wasted, but as a season in which I've interacted with God in a unique way that's taken me closer to him.
I want to complete this task within 5 months, or else I am a failure. That would mean that I did not succeed. The average amount of time it takes to raise full support is 9 to 12 months, so therefore, I have to do it in half of that, because I will not settle for less.
So, I am not Supersupportraiser...and I don't wear blue tights, either.
...I write this piece, then I find an article at Relevant Magazine that talks about our superhero fix and the call of Jesus...and the author ties in Superman in the end.
By the way, if you haven't read Velvet Elvis, it comes highly recommended...by me at least (and Fred got me onto it). And let's be honest, the book layout and design is just plain sweet. If you're into aesthetics at least. The subtitle--Repainting the Christian faith--threw me at first, because that sounds near-cultish, but I gave Bell the benefit of the doubt. I'm glad I did. This book ended up being pretty foundational in my continuing journey to try and understand who Jesus Christ is and what his 33 years on earth meant for his contemporaries as well as for our lives today. Reading the book of John with a lot of reflection and also the book of Mark (check out JR's Mark series) have been key for me recently.