Sunday, September 22, 2013

Rekindling the Fire

Rev. Harrell Davis
"I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided..." Luke 12: 49-52

Sometimes Jesus resorted to hyperbole to make a point. The Prince of Peace did not literally imply that discipleship would cause animosity and chaos. What he meant was simply that some people would catch the vision of transformation and possibility that began when he was born. And others would reject the Good News.

James A. Parente is the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. He describes innovation as a function of "disruptive thinking." "Such disruption often provides a critical advantage that enables a new process or technology to thrive … To think disruptively is to challenge accepted ways of thinking, explore new paths, learn from failure, and, ultimately, devise solutions to vexing problems." Parente, Disruptive Thinking, Reach: College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, Winter 2012.

I understand disruptive thinking as a concept, but I would suggest that the objective be more salutary than simply solving problems. Albert Einstein said, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." In other words, we need more; we need innovation.

In the ancient world, family was the glue that held society together. Family structure, typically patriarchal, defined the boundaries of society. When Jesus said, "from now on five in one household will be divided...," he recognized that change and transformation will be seen by some as a challenge to tradition. But where some see challenge others see opportunity.

Elsewhere in this blog you'll read about an inquiry into what we appreciate about this congregation. This Appreciative Inquiry will enable a planning group to create a celebration worthy of our fifty year anniversary.

I encourage you to be part of that inquiry. I encourage you to get involved so that we can celebrate our history, and move forward creatively and innovatively into the future. We have fifty years of blessings to share and with God's help, new pathways, opportunities, and possibilities to explore. Let's rekindle the fire! Thanks be to God!


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