Getting to the Root of it

A dear friend of mine wrote this piece on Problem Solving vs. Problem Finding. While I haven’t read the book she recommends, the article itself was incredibly eye opening and Melissa was able to put voice to some of the things I have been wrestling with as of late. The article reminds me of a saying that has really been sort of my “mantra” and that is “living in the tension”.

Living with the tension of unsolved problems long enough to find the true source of the problem before attempting to solve the problem. I think this happens in even healthy churches, and leads to basic misunderstandings. I would venture to say that the biggest misunderstanding of the Church (universal) is the way we approach the problem of why young people aren’t in church or aren’t interested in church one bit. We hem and haw at trying to fix the problem with New Music! New Buildings! New Locations! New Outreach Projects! New Meeting Times! but it always comes back to the fact that we aren’t growing the kingdom, we are playing a giant game of chess with the same old pawns, moving them from one location to another. I have offered before to our current church the idea of sitting down and listening to those who have absolutely no interest in the church and just to listen. To learn their reasons. To live with the reality of their reasons, without trying to change them, and then to evaluate what it is we are doing wrong, because let’s be completely honest, we are doing SOMETHING wrong.

Our minister this past Sunday preached from the text of  Ezekiel 37:1-14, the prophesy of the dead bones coming back to life. He talked about the Lenten journey being one that is Unbelievable. There are times when we must relinquish control, to let go of understanding dogma, to listen to others, to allow THEM to change US. Then and ONLY THEN will we find the actual problem itself and begin to allow God to do the work of solving that problem within us. In living in this tension, the tension of the unresolved, in facing the reality of death in our churches, we will hopefully hear the Word of the Lord,

“‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”


One response to “Getting to the Root of it

  1. This article articulates much of what I believe and offers suggestions that I think would be very helpful at least as a beginning. The thing that our church does a poor job of is “listening to others.” We have great times for conversation around topics, books, videos, responding to speakers, etc. but we, to my knowledge, have no groups where we simply bring up and talk about subjects of this nature. We provide surveys and then we are offered very BRIEF times to respond. However, this does not get down to some of the real problems such as is stated in this article. Our church has very few young adults that are out of college, married, married with children, etc. Where are they, these out of church young ones?
    What are they doing? How can we find them and how can we invite them to an open forum group, etc.? It is as if all of us both in and out of the church are reluctant to get together and share our feelings about “church.” I would love to participate in such groups.”Listening is an art.” Have we forgotten how? “Living in the tension” is not a new subject but you hear it spoken more often these days. I have learned much about this as our church began in 1957 and we are not the same church we were then. In many ways we have gone backwards and appears now we are trying to at least begin some things to find answers to our questions. Having lived through and “staid with” the same church all these years I had to “live in the tension” all of those years. Believe you me, you learn a lot by simply sticking with a church and it’s ups and downs.” Many times I have wanted to leave and I staid mostly because there, for me, was no other place to go. I just kept on praying that things would change for the better and I still do. “Living in the tension” also includes all of life not just church life. Thanks for posting the article.

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