Tuesday, October 28, 2008

There's GOT to be a better way

I’m toying with NOT going to our conference convention this Saturday. Not just because I find them soul-crushingly boring, or because the drive is 3-4 hours each way, or even because my wife thinks I go to WAY too many meetings (which is true) and I see my kids WAY too little (which is also true).

I’m toying with not going to conference convention because I don’t think it really accomplishes anything. We meet because our constitution says we must. We look at reports, we drink coffee, we receive more reports, we gripe over whatever controversy of the day is diverting our attention, more reports, and we have communion. Then we go home.

I can’t help but wonder if Jesus’ died so that we might meet. I think we need a better way of doing God’s work than falling asleep through Robert’s Rules of Order. I often wonder if we’re TOO organized, and what God wants from us is a little bit of creative chaos.

After all, I can’t picture St. Paul at a board meeting, offering an amendment on the amendment to adopt all amendments. I can’t envision Augustine asking for a seconder after moving his report. I certainly can’t see Jesus calling for a quorum.

Paul would say, "Okay, you have your meeting, but I'm heading to the other side of the planet to start a bunch of churches." Augustine would chime in, "I don't have my report ready because I'm too busy renewing the church." And Jesus would ask, "When did I tell you to have corporate-style meetings in my name?"

I think church gathering should be celebrations of what God is doing among our people. They should be lively conversations sizzling with passion for the kingdom of God that is renewing the world all around us. Worship should be at the heart of our decision making, a reminder that the Holy Spirit “calls, gathers, and enlightens” us, and moves us forward into God’s future.

If we’re not doing that then we aren’t being faithful stewards of God’s mysteries. We’re closing the door to future generations of Christians. We’re quenching the Spirit that is breaking into our lives and our world.

If the church won’t change how we make collective decisions then maybe it deserves to die. And maybe that’s a good thing. As the Christian story reminds us, it’s only after a death do we see resurrection.

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