I have tried to live the wisdom of this classic quote: If you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem.
We have lived in rural settings for the past 15 years which means there’s a smaller population to provide the skills and talents that are required in our ever-expanding culture. Case in point: 10 and under girls’ fastpitch softball coaches are hard to come by. Hey! I can do that! Great! The job is yours. So you step in/giving your time and energy to a dozen or more energetic little girls (your own included)/teach them the basics/win a few games, lose a few/still have a lot of fun. Until one day a parent comes and says one of two things: That’s not the way we used to play softball or My daughter’s not getting enough playing time. Inside, you are shaking your head saying… Argh!… but outside you are trying to assuage the parent’s concerns. Sometimes being part of the solution just creates more problems.
So after yesterday’s honesty, I want to be sure to hold myself accountable for offering solutions. It’s not fair for someone to walk up to the customer service counter and lay out their whiny complaints without suggesting how the service provider can provide better service. After all, the service provider doesn’t have an inside track to the customer’s brain… although that would be absolutely fabulous. So here goes…
- Never underestimate the value of relationship… even if it is the bare minimum. If you can call me by name as we’re leaving church on Sunday morning, I’ll probably give you the benefit of the doubt the next time I want to pass judgment.
- Try to understand the complexities of this life we lead/this culture we live in… and if you don’t get it, ask me! Then challenge me to live in a manner worthy of the calling I have received from Christ.
- Convince yourself that I already believe enough… because what I am really searching for is how to navigate my way through the struggles and trials of my choices and circumstances while still holding onto that belief. Help me do this better.
- Put in the time necessary to do your job well. As a parent my family deserves the best I can give and often requires more than that… as a worker I have to give my best effort to my employer or I don’t have a job anymore. It’s not always easy and most times it calls for prioritizing and then re-prioritizing… sometimes I get prioritized right out the door.
- Let humility be your guiding principle. Our radar antennas are always scanning… the bells go off when we find it and also when we don’t.
And this is the most important thing so it gets its own bullet…
- We have got to be more innovative in all the ways that we teach/preach/learn faith.
You might not want to think of liturgy as entertainment but the fact is, you are competing with a whole slew of other easier/more palatable/make-you-feel-good options than you realize. Granted, liturgy is first and foremost about Paschal Mystery… but if you don’t got butts in the pews… well, you can finish that however you want.
When I found this video clip, I laughed out loud… because immediately I could put dates/times/places/faces on these characters recalling with utmost clarity the moments I have been in this type of focus group. Me and the people I know are asking you to consider adopting wheels… think about it.