Imagination and Risk

Usually a report from the Auditor General would make my eyes
glaze over and induce a quiet nap but I can’t get this recent one out of my
mind. I find her comments about the miserable failure of the government to
bring about positive change in the conditions of Canada’s First Nations People
particularly haunting. It is not a shortage of money but a creativity deficit
that perpetuates what is patently an intolerable situation. The quality of schools,
the quality of water, and the quality of life continue to decline despite the
millions of dollars thrown at the problem. When I used to visit correctional
institutions on the Prairies it seemed like 80% of the inmates were
Aboriginals, while they composed a much, much smaller portion of the general
population. As I talked to the guys I learned that they did ‘do crimes”
sometimes very violent crimes, yet I am still haunted by the sense that there
is a systematic problem here that our penal system does not correct but in fact
exacerbates it. Doing the same thing, which has not worked, over and over
again, does not solve anything. If we want a hole dug over there we do not
accomplish that by digging a deeper hole over here! This is the very definition
of insanity.

As we apply imagination and change we risk failing but by
not risking we guarantee failure!

The same is true for the church in the ‘west’. We see around
us the decline of the Inherited Church. We hear calls for greater effort and
sacrifice to maintain this institution. I want to suggest that the Church has
all that she needs to succeed in her mission but no amount of; time, talent or
treasure spent to secure the Church’s future will stave off the inevitable decline.
Security is not called for in these times! Risk is called for! Sanctified innovation
and imagination will be the creative tools for the growing Church in the 21st
Century West. We will probably experience a portion of failure, but the current
course of the Inherited Church insures not just failures but colossal failure. As
the old hymn “Stand Up Stand Up For Jesus” says

Stand up, stand up for
Jesus, the trumpet call obey;

Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day.

Ye that are brave now serve Him against unnumbered foes;

Let courage rise with danger, and strength to
strength oppose.

It may be time to pray for courage
and then step out as if we believed God answers prayer. This is a time to risk.
It is a time to imagine what Jesus would have us do in our communities and the
in His name, just do it!


5 comments on “Imagination and Risk

  1. I can’t agree more. However if you come up with how we do that let me know. I know it is contextualized to our cultural context as to what we do but the difficulty is knowing what that looks like. I am not afraid to pick up a shovel and start digging. The only thing I don’t know is where the hole is suppose to be.
    I am not trying to be negative though undoubtly I sound that way. I really do want to know how “sanctified innovation and imagination” gets played out in real life. I hope the church is asking for this in prayer.

    • Hi Jeff;
      It is frustrating not to know where to dig and you are certainly right about local context. So I don’t think there are cookie cutter answers but the key is prayerfully asking the right question. How do we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? Once you get an inkiling dig in! If you are wrong start again. It is easier to steer a car that is moving than one that is perpetually in Park.
      Take care.
      < Reed

  2. Another interesting blog, Reed.
    I think the way Uptown Church has developed is a good model. As I understand it, you studied the neighbourhood, saw a way you could help others and at the same time invite them to get to know you. I think when we intentionally love others like that, the logistics come naturally.

  3. So based on what you said we should do something. Rick suggests that looking at the neighborhood and determining the need is a good place to start. Both very good suggestions.

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