Monday, August 25, 2008

Playing on the Field

This past Saturday, Len Sweet came and spoke to a gathering of New England United Methodist about ministry in this new culture, and about how to navigate the Perfect Storm of postmodernism, post-Christendom, and post-scale. I'll admit, it was nice to have one of my favorite professors on my home turf and experiencing good New England culture, and it was great that some folks up this way could start getting a handle on how we can enjoy the ride as we face these opportunities for ministry here in New England.

One of the metaphors we played with was that of a football team. A football team needs to huddle before a play to make sure everyone is on the same page and ready for the play. The point of the huddle is to make it as quick as possible because the point of the game is to move the ball downfield to score a touchdown, and you can't do that if you are spending all of your time in the huddle.

Within this metaphor for the church, we definitely have a huddle situation; so much so that I think we've forgotten that there's a game going on. It reminds me of watching T-ball, where adorable kids sit in the outfield, making dandelion chains for each other, totally oblivious to the face that there's a game out there that they're playing. When the ball comes their way, they seem surprised, and not quite sure what to do with it. Or when a kid gets a great hit and is a bit astonished and everyone starts yelling "go home!" what does she do but...start running home instead of toward home plate.

We've got to get our heads back in the game -- go back to the play book (no...that doesn't mean the Book of Discipline) and get our signals straight from the coach. That is, if the church wants to continue playing on the field.

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