Archives For tension

Monuments to Me

Erik Cooper —  January 31, 2011 — 5 Comments

We humans are a screwed up bunch.

Scripture clearly states we’re created with God’s nature (Genesis 1:27). Yet we’re also cursed with our own inner Charlie Sheen (Genesis 6:5). Don’t think that tension goes unnoticed as BeyondTheRisk 2.0 goes live today.


I write to express what God’s doing in me. To create something beautiful. To inspire action. To challenge perspective. To share something I value with you.

But I also write to please my inner narcissist. Because I want you to like me. For your approval. So you’ll make me feel valuable. So you’ll know who I am.

Just keeping it real.

Everything we create has the ability to elevate God and serve humanity, or become another monument to me.

We have to engage that tension with a lot of honest confession and repentance (and a good dose of loving community). It seems the only other option is to never create anything at all.

Where do you feel that tension?

Tension is good for music. Notes that don’t naturally fit the chords. Melodies that depart the intended key. Progressions that take you to unexpected places.

Music that never breaks the rules is boring. A little healthy tension is actually what makes music beautiful.

Same is true for life.

This weekend my younger brother and his wife are moving to Houston. Another goodbye in a seemingly endless list of adieus over the past few years

A little more tension in the melody line.

Darren has an unbelievable opportunity to work under a successful music producer in Houston, Texas (which also happens to be Britney’s home town). He’ll be learning the ropes from an industry insider, working on some serious projects, and slowly launching his own production company (all while wearing a ten gallon hat and learning proper parts of speech for the word y’all).

Sad and exciting all wrapped into one. (Sadciting? Exsading?)

When we launched City Community Church, we committed to hold things loosely. To invest in people selflessly. To release them passionately. To see the Kingdom as bigger than our individual church community. To give until it hurt.

Little did I know how close those declarations would hit to home. And how badly they would actually sting.

So we let go. And that release brings pain. And the pain creates tension. The very tension that has the potential to fill life’s music with unbelievably beautiful melodies.

Goodbye D&B. (I guess it’s really more of a “see ya’ll”). Love you. Proud of you. Go write some beautiful, tension filled melodies (with a Texas twang).

(But don’t think for a minute I’m not subtly reminding mom and dad which one of their sons loves them enough to stick around).

Pursuing Tension

Erik Cooper —  April 18, 2009 — 1 Comment

Yesterday was kite day at my kids’ school. The annual 30 minutes ritual of high-flying hopes, tangled string, and unexpected cardiovascular exertion.  And yesterday was a beautiful day for it!  Sunny, 75 degree, short-sleeved weather…with one major problem.  No wind. No wind?  In Indiana in the springtime?  Yep…almost absolutely zero.  Hardly a leaf rattling.

In risk of sounding incredibly obvious and even more so in making an incredibly cheesy analogy, wind is important for kite-flying (did you know that?).  The tension of the airflow against the nylon of the kite is actually what makes go airborne, and the same holds true for our lives (insert soaring Bette Midler lyrics here).

But I bet many of you are like me and have a natural aversion to tension.  When things become uneasy, difficult, or complicated, your first desire is to return things to a state of “normal.” Tension rarely feels good.  It presses against our state of rest and shakes us from our complacency.  It makes us uncomfortable.  I like to be comfortable.  Unfortunately, my comfort never accomplishes anything of real value and is usually a tell-tale sign I’m living far below the potential God has for my life.

Some tension is a a result of irresponsibility or bad decision-making and truly is a sign that something needs to be fixed.  But other tension comes from really doing something, of shaking-up normal, of pressing towards lives that truly make a difference.  Stepping out and risking something big not only creates tension internally, but it usually upsets people and systems around you that have a vested interest in holding to the status quo.  That kind of resistance should be sought after.

The kites just wouldn’t fly yesterday because there was no wind, no resistence, no tension to push them higher (more cheesy Bette Midler droaning here). I don’t want to run from that kind of tension.  I want to pursue it.