Friday, October 8, 2010

Rose Colored Glasses

(photo from
"Confession is good for the soul." That's what they say, whoever "they" are. I guess I can see that. I'll admit though, it's painful at best, you know, to confess those things that you had rather remain hidden or buried. The question then becomes, can healing begin until the confession is made.

Now, let me clarify, I'm not talking about some dark sin of the soul, those are sins of commission. I think what has hit me this morning is more of a sin of omission. Something we haven't done, more so than something we have.

This morning, I'm sitting in the Drury Inn in Leawood, Kansas, just outside Kansas City, waiting for the trip back over to the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. I came up yesterday to a leadership conference the Church of the Resurrection is hosting. Last night Adam Hamilton spoke about leadership in the church, and I have to say, it's gotten me thinking about a few things this morning.

I've said before that I've been doing this for 11 years now and during most of that time, the buzzword has been "church revitalization." Why? Well, because the church needs revitalizing, obviously. I've heard the blame placed on clergy and laity both, and I have finally realized that it really doesn't matter who has killed church growth. What matters now is, what are we going to do about it?

That's where the confession comes in, at least for me. And that, my friends, is the sin of ommission that hit me this morning. Before we can be healed, we must admit that we are broken, and some folks, clergy and laity alike, have not yet confessed that we are broken. I think John Conlee said something about "rose colored glasses."

Maybe, and I'm just thinking out loud, maybe instead of clergy blaming apathetic parishioners, and laity blaming lazy clergy, we ought to stop for a minute, confess that what we are currently doing is not working, and hit our knees asking for guidance. I don't know, but it might work. Maybe, instead of jumping on the latest church growth bandwagon, we should take a step back, look at our Wesleyan heritage, begin journeying back to our roots of social justice and holiness of heart and life, and see what happens. It worked nearly 300 years ago, it might work again.

Until then, I'll keep coming to these leadership workshops and bringing the information back home, and we'll keep looking at each other and scratching our heads, wondering why we are still in decline.

O God, forgive us for placing our own wants and desires above the mission of YOUR church. Forgive our self-centeredness. Forgive our stubborness. We confess to you today that we are not where we should be. We confess that discipleship is no longer our primary goal, but God, we want it to be again. Guide us, strengthen us, grant us grace. And God, may your will be done...finally.


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