This Lenten Season, I am still considering the idea of balance. What do I mean by balance? My definition of balance is rooted in my understanding of the human body. For example, I experienced pain and a click in my left hip for many years only to discover that my right hip was overcompensating for a lack of strength in my left hip. The weakness in the left hip demanded extra attention in order to balance the power between the two. In yoga, we balance out the body by strengthening and stretching the right side of the body and then starting over again with the same techniques on the left side. This concept of balance helps in our understanding of situations that we experience. When we encounter a situation or a person that causes tension or sadness or anger, the idea of balance would have us look at the situation or the person to try to understand their side of the story. To root us in scripture, we see that when we are in our own personal “good Friday” moment that we believe, cling to, proclaim that Easter Sunday is just around the corner. One of my favorite authors, Richard Rohr, named his ministry the Center for Action and Contemplation citing that the two seemingly opposing ideas actually bring a balance to the Christian Life.
Today, I want to think about the idea of balance in relationship to the body of Christ i.e. the church. Let me tell you a story first. My family and I visited Arizona in January and purchased an Escape the Room experience. Some of us were excited. Others of us (me) felt a great amount of anxiety because I did not know what to expect. So we enter the room and no instructions are given except that in about 15 min we will get our first clue.
The clock begins with 60 min and as soon as the door shuts, the clock starts ticking. We have only 60 min to get out of this room and we don’t get our first clue until 15 min into our hour! Here is what took place:
Some of us began running around the room like we were an army sent to attack the enemy. We were moving pictures, lifting benches, knocking on walls, talking to mannequins and finding clues in no particular order but excited about each discovery ! We did break some things along the way…OOPS! They will know better next time we come! Ok, I must confess that I was a part of this holy mess!
Others in our group grabbed a piece of paper and began writing down all the clues the first group found. They organized the clue, strategized and deciphered their meaning. Since each clue built on top of the last, they shared with the rest of us what we might be looking for next.
Still others held back absorbing all that was going on magically coming up with answers. In the end, they saw the entire processl unfold and realized we were finished. Some of us were still running around trying things. Others of us still methodically thinking about the last clue’s meaning. Thank God for the people who saw the whole thing because they were able to say, “I think we have all we need! Let’s see if this last key works on the door!”
Balance. We could have driven each other crazy. We could have asked certain people to stop being who they are so that our group could be more unified in our approach. I am happy to say that our group was one of the 20% of groups that actually got out of the room in 60 min.
Decline is the word most often heard in the church. The reasons for our decline are many and valid. If the church is to survive in the future, I think we need to take a look at the idea that we need all kinds of people to make it happen. We need the experimenters to try everything. We need the strategizers to plot out the best course for success. We need those who seem to be on the outside, but who are taking it all in to tell us when we are on to something great.
With this kind of balanced approach, we can create something new and beautiful!