Acts 6:1Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.
Gird your loins...
Wake up and smell the coffee..
Suck it up...
... and other euphemisms come to mind to describe how we might respond to the next stage of our journey on Path of Renewal.
"When you stand before people and tell them that in order to accomplish a mission, they have to change, adapt, give up something for the greater good, work with those they don’t like or compromise on something they care about, they get mad . They get really mad. Mostly, they get mad at you , and this is exactly the sign that transformation is beginning to happen." (Tod Bolsinger, Canoeing the Mountains)
I'm reading Canoeing the Mountains alongside re-reading Ed Friedman's Failure of Nerve - which is providing a very helpful focus for the next stage of our journey on Path of Renewal.
Listening deeply to both God and our communities, asking the right kind of questions, hearing the stories, both ancient and modern and, through those practices, discerning God's invitation to join in mission takes us into unfamiliar territory. It takes us out of our comfort zones and forces us to confront hard choices. And, in particular, although we might have known support when we were "saying the right things", encouraging folk to consider their focus and purpose alongside God, it's a whole other matter when it's time to move from talking mission to living mission. Often, our role in that part of the process, aside from exemplifying change is to provide a non-anxious presence when accompanying others through change - confronting the outward and the inward effects of transition - and to do this effectively while processing our own inner journey because mission is not a solo pursuit but a journey we make alongside others. It's also about holding our nerve when it seems that folk no longer like us, something that none of us find easy. It is indeed cold comfort to know that this signals the beginning of the transformation of which we dream.