Newsletter - Chips Off The Rock - November 2021
“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort. It’s choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And it’s practicing your values, not just professing them.” Brené Brown PhD LCSW
My bulletin cover from the service on October 17 is covered with notes. The excerpt from Tod Bolsinger’s video “Doing Church in Uncharted Territory” had my pen moving. Tod put into words a process that we all have been living through since March 2020. It’s a process that is universal in time and human experience, but the pandemic has pushed each of us to experience it now. Here is a summary from my notes:
Acute stage: The “blizzard” stage or the emergency room moment where a crisis has built to the point that one is surviving instead of thriving (ie Covid lockdown March-May 2020)
Adaptive Stage: Addressing the underlying issue one has not had the will to face previously. Ideally one moves to an adaptive stage and confronts an issue before it becomes acute. (ie Returning to everyday activities and still protecting from Covid)
Acute stage relies on relationships, a coming together to care for each other. While the adaptive stage faces losses, navigates competing values, and develops the capacity to learn and address underlying issues.
Tod challenged us to reflect on how the pandemic has pushed our congregation to a place where we need to do some reflecting and make changes. He stated many churches and organizations have moved through the acute stage and are now facing the need to navigate the adaptive stage. He listed some underlying conditions that churches face:
Lack of deep discipleship
Lack of enduring Christian community
Lack of leadership development
Lack of prophetic wisdom
Which one of these stands out to you as an issue at Rock Run? I think each of us will answer that question differently. Some of the things that come to mind may predate Covid 2020. Some of them may be directly related to how the church handled Covid.
As I reflect on my answers ,my emotions can get the best of me. I can let those emotions distract me from the true issue at hand. How do I discern my spiritual needs? How do I communicate those needs to the congregation? It feels like a lot, and honestly, I don’t know that I have the emotional energy for a big process right now. I’m so tired of reconfiguring all the areas of my post-Covid life.
One way I ground myself is to remember a quote from one of my favorite resources on facing a conflict. It is a book I’ve read several times in the last six years, Rising Strong: How the Ability To Reset Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Brown, 2015).
“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort. It’s choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy. And it’s practicing your values, not just professing them.”
I think her words are perfect for the conversation our congregation is having about who we are and what we want in the future. I encourage everyone to prayerfully consider what we as a church are being called to. How do we practice our values with integrity and truly work through the tough conversations of the coming months?
Thanks for reading,