Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Fool's Errand?

"If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid." -Epictetus

In any group of people working together, inertia can make us blind to needed change.  We get to going a certain direction, doing things a certain way, that we stop seeing other possibilities.  So when a needed change is suggested, the person suggesting the change may seem like a fool.  A proposal that doesn't fit the status quo is not likely to be met with open arms by those who have settled the group into the status quo in the first place.  Because of this, many ideas never get brought out into the daylight, where they can shake us out of our lethargy.  Who wants to be thought to be an idiot?

Seth Godin argues along this same line of thinking as well in Tribes.  His thought is that groups are waiting to be gelled together under the leadership of heretics, men and women who are willing to jump the tracks and break free from the status quo.  Who will those people be?

Maybe the church needs more idiots.  (I am fully aware that there are many who would argue that the church is already full of idiots, but that's another issue.)  We need people who are willing to risk looking foolish for the sake of improving our capacity to work out God's mission.  The church was still a new venture in the world when Epictetus made his statement.  I don't think he directed his comments to the followers of Jesus directly, but I wonder if they heard it and took it to heart.  They were certainly willing to be thought of as fools, as they swore their allegiance to Jesus - at any cost.
Our student ministry is in a rut.  We're stuck in a pattern that allows students to appear to have things pretty well together, but live most of their days disengaged from God.  They can regurgitate the proper answers, but how close to the heart of God are they really living?  It's time for some foolish ideas...

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