Monday, June 26, 2006

This is it!

Organizationally we may be suspected of incompetence, doctrinally we may be too diverse to qualify for "sound in the faith", we can certainly be accused of lacking a distinct vision for the "enterprise" (that's what one church consultant told me pastors should do - build an enterprise), and we don't always seem to attract the right kind of people . . . but this email today about the ladies' get-together last night is what being Christian means:

I wanted to thank you for a great evening. I've never been with that large a group of women who exchanged differing views and ideas with as much grace and respect, kindness and consideration and just good 'ole laughter as you all exhibited last night. From my perspective God was glorified.

God was definitely glorified - because love, kindness, gentleness, mercy, patience, joy, goodness, forgiveness, humility, grace, and respect were evidently present within that gathering last night! This is godliness. This is what it means to follow Christ.

Some might counter that this is not a zero-sum game. That we could embody all the first things I mentioned and still have the fruit of the Spirit, as in what I remarked was evidently shared last night.


I do tend to think that choices must be made. Emphasis has to be put in certain places, and not in others. Some values have to take precedence - and I do believe that institutional efficiency often is at odds with loving community. Maybe we can't have it all. Maybe structured efficiency is somehow less than merciful, patient, and gracious - and so when cultivated hinders the others' growth.

Could it be that a distinct "entrepreneurial" vision will at some level undermine respectful, diverse, and kind dialogue? Could it subvert the practice of loving my neighbor? It just might be that we can't have both as equal emphases.



jen said...

I will take chaos and compassion any day of the week thank you:)

betsy2b said...

To use my own analogy...

I think structured "gardens" have their place and can be very beautiful.

However, I would much rather gaze at a field of wildflowers... then run through it, be at part of it, experience it, not just look at it and admire the beauty.

To me, that's the beauty of the DF community.

Frank Bellizzi said...


It sounds like good things are happening, and you want to keep that going and growing in all the true ways.

I can't comment from experience with your group. But I do know that it's tough to sort out and prioritize goals and rules and commitments.

There have been plenty of times in my own life and ministry when a good goal subverted an even-better rule. At the same time, leaders and churches must be courageous, trusting that, as they walk in the light, the Lord will not let them fall.

Best wishes, my brother.

pd said...

Frank uses an interesting combination of words. "Trusting" we hear often. "Courageous" is another matter. As John Eldredge says, "We've given up singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" or anything else that smacks of spiritual warfare. Why do we need courage? Is THE war over and someone forgot to tell me?

Ed Dodds said...

It is interesting this consultant used the metaphor of "enterprise" when the very concept of "enterprise" in the biz world is changing to a flatter, global, 24 hour doohickey ( saw a post this a.m. on outsourcing the CEO -- that's the fellow who makes the $$$ off of the "enterprise" ) and the software technology use of the term is moving toward service oriented architecture ( SOA ) -- which means xmlified data which enables the distributed, digital "enterprise." In this software services world the metaphor which is shattering all the economic preconceptions is "open source" -- which are often free, trusted, pay it forward, goal-based distributed close to real-time labors of love.

Now later on these OS folks charge for teaching because their experience and the time they save the customer is valuable and they need to feed their families but -- at a certain level of abstraction -- the metaphor is very similar to a global cell|house church structure.

In "extreme programming" couples work together because they have greater knowledge together than apart -- but it can only happen when they trust one another enough to be vulnerable about their shortcomings ( and he sent them out 2 by 2 ). In churchianity we learn that hiding these shortcomings is the appropriate thing to do because shooting our own soldiers is the game which delights the adversary the most when we play it.

Community is necessary after such an assault -- but in "extreme discipleship" ( or "open source theology" ) -- community is no longer necessarily limited by geography or the clock.