Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It Is Enough

In the House of Deputies, we have passed several important resolutions that do bold things like commit $3million to improve digital evangelism and set aside $1million for revitalization of congregations. So many of the resolutions that have passed with great emphasis and energy in our house have come with huge price tags. Where will this money come from? We don't know. We do know what happens if they aren't funded by the church. We know that without funds all of the energy and excitement and momentum expressed in these resolutions will fizzle out and die.

Or will they?

On Sunday, we will all be back in our churches (or at least somewhere other than General Convention). As the gospel appointed for that day, we will hear Mark 6:1-13. In those words, we will hear Jesus say a lot about evangelism that flies in the face of the logic of fear that seems to have taken hold on the legislative process.

As he sends out the disciples two by two, Jesus tells them to take nothing with them--no purse, no money, no bag, no change of clothes, no food, no nothing. Just go with what you have on your back. Pick up a good walking stick and go.

Imagine what it feels like to have an authority figure send you out to do important, amazing, challenging work but tell you that you can't make or take any preparations. How puzzling! How disconcerting! How confusing!

But there is a different logic to that sort of evangelism. It requires living day to day. It requires being highly sensitive to the community to which you have been sent. It requires you to let go of the outcome and focus on the process. I believe that that is what Jesus is saying to the Episcopal Church.

I wholeheartedly support these resolutions. I hope the church will fully fund them. Actually, I hope the church will rethink the way it funds programs and ministries and stop asking GC what we think should be funded and start asking GC what the priorities for the coming triennium will be. Then, Executive Council can fund whatever it thinks is best according to those priorities. But that's another post for another day. Back to the matter at hand... I do hope that these costly, bold, expansive, hopeful resolutions will pass both houses and be funded. But I don't think the church needs to doubt the possibility that lies ahead regardless of funding.

If we confuse the funding of these resolutions for the spirit and drive behind them, then we are guilty of perpetuating the lethargy that has crippled our church in the last few decades. We must support radical freedom by embracing the take-what-you've-got mentality of Jesus. Don't let budgets define our ministry. Trust that our ministry will define our budgets. Yes, advocate for funding, but don't worry about the outcome. The energy is there. It is the Spirit that motivates and propels us. Never doubt the one whom we are serving in this work. He is sending us out. He has given us the commission.

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