One of the things I think I am observing at CCC is that there is a wide awareness ‘something’ needs to change. That is a good starting point! That’s my encouraging observation. It gets a little less easy from here.
There is a much-bandied truth that any organization is perfectly set up to achieve the results it is getting. “Of course,” we say, when we think it over. We see the truth of that self-evident statement.
If we want different results we need to examine what needs to change in order to get a new outcome.
This is where it gets difficult. Often we can’t ‘see’ what we are doing that creates what is currently happening. On top of that, maybe we really do not want to change ourselves. We possibly want the world to change to accommodate us. Or we don’t want to look at how the world around us has changed and how what we have been doing worked fine 50 to 100 years ago and now is comfortable for us.
I’ll give just one example. There was a time, one or two generations ago, when people who wanted church would seek it out. In those days the church was a strong social agency, central to civic life. The church threatening to discipline you had weight. Today, my experience is that people outside the church have little to no idea that the church, well done, offers something of great, eternal value. Much of that is our own fault. I’m talking about the church in general here. So good luck with waiting for people to come to us, as church.
But if we stay in even just that one expectation that was valid in the past: “if we build it they will come,” we will not have people making a path through our doors.
So, we need to begin thinking about what outcome we want (or that we think God wants) that is different that the one so many are ‘restless’ with. That’s what I’m here to help you do. But I won’t do it for you. That would be unfair.
We are about to start a God-journey together that we each and all begin with hopes and ideas — yet none of us knows ahead of time what the outcome really will be. We set out in faith. For this journey we all need to have faith that God will be in the journey and process with us, you (CCC) have to have some faith in what I do, and I have to choose to believe you are serious about making the journey.
The way ahead is somewhat like the bridge in the picture above. It is hard to tell if it is safe and it will hold should we try to walk across. We also don’t know where it leads.
I took that picture in Moorecroft United Church camp (now Moorecroft Regional Park) on Vancouver Island when a rare snow fell. For a time I was their resident chaplain and caretaker of the 80 acre ocean-front property with four distinct ecosystems.
What we need in the times CCC is in is the ability to gain birds eye, or as close to God’s eye height — perspective — that we can. Often this is also called “getting on the balcony.” But we tend to be so caught up in the anxieties of day-to-day survival that we can’t pause and even imagine “thrival.” In such a state we definitely are not able to fully gain a Heaven’s eye view. Doing our exploring and reflecting prayerfully and with trust in our “Higher Power” (in our case the God of Christian Scripture) can get us in touch with that perspective.
I witnessed this struggle firsthand as I worked with the board of Moorecroft Camp to try gain a new vision while they were bogged down in a rut of “survival” from which they were not able to rise and eventually the camp property was sold to become a preserve.
Below are two pictures of a Canada Goose I took while on a walk near Lethbridge. You can’t tell from the picture, but the stump it was on was about 4 meters in the air! I wondered how it managed to land on it. It was standing there squawking and looking around, and to me is not only an interesting picture and incident, but represents the kind of trying to rise above and gain realistic perspective required in STM transitional work. Part of my role is to get up on that stump regularly and help you see what I see that you might not be seeing.
I am chosing to trust God’s guidance as we cross whatever bridges are presented to us in the journey. Please join me in that.