Regular readers of this blog (yes that is you….the one in the stained rain mac, the purple flares and string vest carrying ‘trainspotters monthly’…pay attention), will note my aversion to the word ‘success’. In fact I blogged a bit about it last week.
I worry what a church that describes itself as a ‘success’ is actually like. I worry about the pressure of ‘success’- if you don’t feel succesful, just broken, is there a space to admit it? If numbers fall or something stalls, can you admit it? I don’t see the word ‘success’ in the New Testament. I am not denying that things can flourish for a while, grow incredibly, large numbers come to follow Jesus etc etc. I long for things like this and I’ve seen them (sometimes).
I found these 2 things on the blogosphere this week that made me think about what I believe may ‘work’ in a disinterested post-everything western culture:-
First the personal:-
‘If a thingâ€™s worth doing, itâ€™s worth doing badly (G K Chesterton)
Donâ€™t wait to start. Donâ€™t wait to be perfect. Donâ€™t wait to be good at it. Donâ€™t even wait to be average. Pretty well everything that is really and deeply important in life is worth doing, even if the best you can do is to do it badly.
Get stuck in. Get your hands dirty. Get your nose bloody.
Do it with all your heart and strength even if that is only good enough to do it badly.
Jesus told us to do lots of things. I am bad at almost all of them. But Iâ€™m going to do them, even if I make a fool of myself in the process. Iâ€™m going to love God and you and other people. Iâ€™m going to pray. Iâ€™m going to give lots away. Iâ€™m going to give up destructive living. Iâ€™m going to resist evil.
It will really help me to keep doing those things, if you are willing to have a go to, and to do them even if badly, rather than wait until you are somehow good.’
http://www.dream.uk.net/blog/2007/11/dream-to-go-22-do-it-badly.htmlThen the corporate:-
This is from an American Episcopal Priest (HT: http://jonnybaker.blogs.com/jonnybaker/)Â whoÂ came to Britain and interviewed Anglicans- Bishops, Vicars and the hoi polloi. He asked them if they could have done anything differently to cope with the rising tide of secularism 20 years ago what they would do then and what they would do now….
So, (several of them concurred) if we could go back â€“ if you could learn from us â€“ we would encourage you to take action now; do not wait until you have it figured out. Invite faith-filled young leaders into your communities. Listen. Try on new ideas. Experiment. Be willing to fail â€“ often and early. â€œFail awayâ€ until patterns of meaning start to emerge from your communities in discernment. Listen for the Fresh Expressions of the Spirit in their sometimes awkward and clumsy offerings. Especially listen and observe the way they use ritual and music to make sense of the insanity of our lives.
(Iâ€™ll stop there â€“ I think the point is clear!)
Neither quote sounds ‘succesful’ does it?