Thursday, April 24, 2008

One Vision? No Thanks.

I think I have come to the conclusion that I dislike the idea of "vision" when it relates to the Church. I dislike it when people present me a vision, a plan, a goal, a dream. I always have - and I couldn't put my finger on it for the longest time. One Vision - no thanks (unless you are talking about the Queen song they used in the movie Iron Eagle - that's one "One Vision" I like).

Here is the problem I have. When you have a vision, when you share a dream, you are communicating an idea that you have created. None of us actually see the future - we don't know what will happen - so our "vision" is always something of our own creation. And then we will present our vision. If we have enough power we may even declare that our vision is the One Vision that will unite everyone.

First - pause for a moment. How arrogant is that? Did not our Lord teach us to pray "Thy will be done"? We don't see the future - how do we get off on thinking that our creation, our hopes are the hopes that ought to be - that our idea of the future is what should be? More over, where do we get off thinking that we have the right or duty to dictate to people what they should want the future to be like. If you are sharing your "vision" you are telling people the way things ought to be. It's arrogance.

But arrogance isn't enough to sour me on something - I can enjoy a bit of chutzpah every once in a while. I know arrogance doesn't belong in the Church, but God can use even the arrogant. There is more.

Second - Where is your focus when you place it upon a vision? It's upon something you created, something from yourself. And your goals change - you act in a way to bring about your vision. You start doing not what is right according to God - but rather you do that which is right in your own eyes - in your own vision. You have a goal, a place in the future - and you think on how to get there. . . what needs to be done to accomplish a goal - not what is your duty, not what is your responsibility.

I think "vision" thinking is pretty much fundamentally unethical. It skews your focus. Is it my job to try to mold the future into what I wish it to be, or is it my job to. . . do my job?

I find I don't want to hear about vision. I'm sick of it. Let's hear about something else - let's hear about faithfulness. Let's hear about people who spend time not searching the myriad what-could-bes and trying to fashion them, but rather spend time searching the Word of God, learning what it says, the truth, the timeless, eternal truth that it declares - and seeing God's Word strive to be faithful.

Can't we all just be faithful? Can't we be content to trust in God, that God will actually be God? That we don't have to try to outthink the Lord and take our handy-dandy shortcut to the promised land? Can't we just be faithful? Can't we remember the 3rd article of the Creed as much as we remember to point out the 8th commandment when someone doesn't buy our vision that we create (go read what Pastor Hall nails about the 8th commandment ).

Not by my reason or strength, not by my vision or planning, not by what I do does the Church grow - but the Holy Spirit has called us by the Gospel, the Holy Spirit has enlightened us and sanctified and preserved us. Why can't we simply be folks who faithfully hear the Word? Why can't we strive to be more faithful doers of the Word - not like the people who look at themselves in the mirror and then forget what they see because they are too busy with their visions inside their mind?

Luther - he didn't have a vision. He was faithful. Athanasiaus - he wasn't engaged in 5 year plans. He was steadfast. Igantius of Antioch - on his way to the lions of Rome he wasn't trying to share a dream. He was praying that he not falter, that he remain faithful.

The Papacy had visions. Dictators have visions. CEO selling junk that no one really needs have visions. But none of them are faithful. Why, oh why, does it seem that the higher ups in my church would rather be like CEOs (best construction - right there) than be like Luther or Athanasiaus? Lord - I believe, help my unbelief!

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