Friday, September 18, 2009
Middle of the road
When I drive back to the farm from San Antonio, I have to take a beautiful windy road, that has some very sharp bends and is barely wide enough for two cars to pass. I often meet an old man slowly driving towards me in his Renault 4, he always drives in the middle of the road and I always have to pull out of his way to let him pass. His Renault 4 is old but in very good condition. The reason he's kept it that way is because he has stayed away from the edge and probably never driven it very fast or far. It looks good, it's a classic, it's lasted a long time.
For me it has become an interesting little picture of church. Driving along slowly sitting in the middle of the road not taking to much risks is not a bad strategy if you want your church to look good last a long time and become a classic. Believe me there is no cynicism here when I say this, this is not a bad way for church to operate for a few decades.
At some point however the car will cease to be useful and it's driver will die and if they have both played it right will be remembered with fond regard.
Maybe thats what would have happened to the church if it had stayed in Jerusalem, or if Peter had stayed on the roof in Acts 10, or Paul had decided his Damascus road experience was just a personal encounter, maybe if Stephen had just gone for the middle of the road he would not have upset the Jews and got stoned to death.
Somehow the middle of the road and church doesn't sit right with me. I love that quote from Helen Keller that said "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" that's what church should feel like, a daring adventure. Yes of course we need to be a haven and a safe place, but please not in the middle of the road.
We should drive a bit faster, take a few more risks, maybe incur a few more bumps and scrapes because in the end this will attract new younger adventurers who will want to see if they can push it faster and take the bend that little bit quicker. Middle of the road will get there safely but it's not attractive to a younger generation. They won't want to ride in our cars they will build their own!
Anyway I have to go, hope I don't crash today!!!!!