Thursday, January 09, 2014

A New Environment

On the way home from work the other day, we were listening to Public Radio.  The astronaut, Chris Hadfield, was being interviewed.  Part of what he talked about was how much adaption engineers have to make in order to design for work in outer space.  Anything that depends on gravity doesn't work.  For example, (and I'm making this example up) what if you wanted to have a water tank with a spigot.  Turn on the spigot to get a class of water -- the water doesn't flow into the glass, and even if it did, the water wouldn't stay in the glass.  That's a very simple and nonsensical example, but it demonstrates what Hadfield said, "Space is a new environment where everything has to be thought about."  Everything has to be redesigned. None of the regular rules apply.

I think that is a metaphor for our times and evangelism.  The old rules don't apply.  Everything has to be re-thought.  Even gravity does work.  There is no "have a great program and they will come" method.  We can't depend on the idea that people will belong to a church somewhere; we just want it to be ours.  We can't even assume that people want to "belong."

If the very basic rules are different, what do we do?  I think we spend time defining our intention -- our calling from God -- and then we spend time learning the new rules.  This feels much more productive to me that repeating the same ministry, hoping it will work, or complaining about "people today" and how they aren't like us.



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