(June 22, 2017).
Hope you all had a Happy Solstice yesterday. I’m always a little sad at the Summer Solstice because it means the days start getting shorter. But if you think about it, we’re ALWAYS changing … either they’re getting longer or shorter. We just don’t think of it that way most of the time.
And my life is all about change today … well, truth be told, it’s about change every day. But today I’m on my way to that gathering that I told you about in Louisville. It’s looking at church revitalization. (The “always reforming” part of who we are as Presbyterians.)
The articles they sent us in advance of the get-together are impressive. I’m learning a lot already … the Biblical and theological bases of revitalization and new life.
As I sit here in the main concourse of our local airport, watching people come and go, spotting one or two who look familiar (just saw my daughter’s pediatrician!) I’m struck by how everybody is GOING or returning from somewhere and this structure is just a way-station. There is MOVEMENT here. There are people from all walks of life here. There’as an Army guy over there in camo. There’s a student. A woman traveling with two small children (probably headed for MY plane). Business people. Security and TSA.
In an odd way it makes me think of the church. Some of us work or take up spiritual residence there, but most people visit every so often and stop by on their way somewhere else. They use their time with us to help them get to their next “place,” but y’know … there are some folks who never stop by just like there are some folks who have never flown. For those who are frequent fliers, it’s hard to imagine those who’ve never flown — and some look down their noses at those people.
But for non-pilots and those related to the airline industry, there are whole days, weeks, months and maybe even years when we don’t even THINK about airports.
The same is true with church, isn’t it?
Do people like that fly any more if the airport is redesigned and renovated?
I don’t think so.
People who don’t fly just don’t fly. Those of us who do can talk until we’re blue in the face about the benefits of flying, the ease of flying, how much better we feel when we fly, and even the culture and community that is formed by those who regularly fly together. But it’s not going to change the minds and hearts of non-fliers. Know what I mean?
So why do we approach it so differently when it comes to the church?
I really don’t get it.
Now, if I could take a little ultra-light to a group of people and give an amazing and life-altering experience to them where they are … maybe one or two would be so “wowed” that they’d look at flying differently and they might even be willing to take off in a larger plane at an airport.
I don’t know.
I just think that church people have to be careful that we don’t get too bogged down in trying to convince, cajole and guilt-trip people into becoming a part of us.
What we need are more small ultra-light spiritual crafts and little neighborhood “lift-off pads,” I think.
And we need to not just be airports … we need to be train stations and bus stations and … we just need to walk around and talk with folks like Jesus did.
OK. Enough for now.
More later as my journey continues.