Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday morning snark

adj \ˈsnär-kē\
sarcastic, impertinent,
or irreverent in tone or manner

This week and next United Methodist delegates from around the world are gathering in Tampa, Florida for our General Conference.  GC is the decision making body for the denomination and essentially their job while there is to set the course for the church for the next four years.

There's been a lot of snark on twitter and Facebook about all sorts of aspects of the gathering thus far; from worship to parliamentary procedure to representation on committees.  Trying to keep up with it all could be all consuming...I am guilty of watching off and on throughout my day.  I will admit that I am scanning twitter more too - it is kinda fun to live vicariously through the event.

Because so many of us who are commenting are hundreds of miles away there is an unhealthy sense of freedom to toss a jab here and there, and I myself am guilty of doing so.

I didn't give it much thought until this morning when I was in the church kitchen looking for a plastic spoon.  I found them here:

When I opened the door I found more than I bargained for, tada! Plastic spoons, forks and knives on the shelf of the dumbwaiter?  The dumbwaiter is a relic from the days of shuttling coffee fellowship supplies upstairs to the church parlor.  Somewhere along the line the dumbwaiter has been repurposed as a storage cabinet.

Why?  Well I assume its because someone - one day long ago - probably thought that putting SOMETHING there would likely prevent the young people from playing in it - and it is a convenient and unused place in the kitchen after all...sigh.

I wonder how many of my predecessors talked to the kitchen ladies about the use of the dumbwaiter (let alone the location of the plastic stuff), or maybe they just walked away and let them do their own thing...either out of respect for their 'sacred' space or out of fear for making them angry.

I am not sure that I am ready to dive into that conversation either, but it does make me look at myself and what I am doing as a church leader.  Does what I do make sense to those who are not familiar with the Christian faith?  Am I open to rearranging things that may have made sense in the past for the sake of clarity and for the essential work that the church is called to - sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ?

I wonder how many of us have taken a good look at our own houses recently with a loving and yet critical eye - to consider thoughtfully if we as a community of faith are truly open to receiving the least and the lost, the stranger and the unchurched with open arms and with radical hospitality?  And let's push beyond physical space - I am as guilty as anyone else of using the vocabulary that I learned by virtue of my seminary education, but is this really going to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?  These are the questions and the issues that I do have some control over, and this is where I need to turn my energy in the days and weeks ahead.

I do not envy my sisters and brothers in Tampa, they are under a great deal of pressure to make legislation (and some even believe these decisions are essential to save the church) all of this in a very brief amount of time (not that I think that legislation will really save the church - but that discussion is for another day).

I need to remember that it is first and foremost about Jesus - and by the grace of God I am called to serve in times such as these, as are those who are on the ground in Tampa.  I need to give up the snark, drink another cup of tea and spend more time on my knees in prayer for those who are bearing this burden.   Then I think I'll take a walk around and see what I can do to make our house of worship a place that is open and loving to all.

in Christ, together,

1 comment:

  1. I need to remember that it is first and foremost about Jesus

    Amen. Well said from start to finish. Thank you.