I wonder if many of you think that I am just a big tease!
If you have been around me long enough you will have heard me say something to the effect, “We are going to have to tease this vision thing out.” I imagine that that might be frustrating for some. “Why can’t Brian just come up with a vision and then tell us where we are going?” Believe me, I would, if I had access to the magical PCUSA crystal ball!
But since I don’t have that crystal ball and I don’t know of anyone else who has it either, I guess I’ll go to Plan B—that is, to tease this vision thing out!
I write this not just because I want you to understand my style and the method to my madness. I write this because my style is absolutely dependent on you and your response to “my teasing.” Until this vision thing becomes clear I am likely to toss out all sorts of ideas and possibilities. I am likely to play it too cautious at times and not cautious enough at other times. I am likely to risk offending you, even if only for a moment, for what I do say and don’t say.
Why do I do this? Because how you choose to respond or not respond tells me a lot about what you care about, where the energy is, how the Spirit might be working, and under what rocks this vision thing might be hiding.
I truly believe that the vision for the presbytery already exists within the hearts and the minds our members and congregations. I truly believe that our future vision already exists within the souls of our communities and among people we have not yet met. We don’t have to come up with a vision; we only need to discover it!
But how do we discover that vision? I suppose one could send a survey to all 14,000 Presbytery of the Cascades members and compile our answers. But honestly that is so old school. We Presbyterians have engaged in dozens of surveys like this and, as far as I can tell, it hasn’t shifted the momentum of the PCUSA. We still lose 3%-4% of our members every year despite filling out numerous surveys year after year. Surveys give us information, but don’t shift our life.
I believe that this vision thing can’t be accomplished by our usual tactic of coming up with a surefire 7-step plan to vitality and growth. This vision thing is going to have be teased out. And teasing has a way of getting to the truth of a matter by pushing a person’s buttons. Have you ever teased someone and discovered their boundaries, discovered the line that shouldn’t be crossed?
So here is the deal I will make with the presbytery. I will take the risks to tease this thing out. I will sometimes say something when I shouldn’t have and I will sometimes not say something when I should have. I will push the envelope a bit. I will test our limits. I will take the risk to cross some lines.
What I need from you is to engage in this process. Tell me when I have gone too far. Tell me when I have not gone far enough. Tell me when I am playing it too safe. Tell me when I am not taking enough risks.
In order to get through this we will need engagement on all our parts. I will need to step out into new territory, but I will also need you to slow me down when I am going too fast and kick me in the butt when I am going too slow.
How do you let me know when I am on the right track or off the deep end?
Respond to my blog.
Email me or call me.
Discuss any wild hair ideas with your committee, your Bible study, your congregation, your clergy support group, and with your hairdresser.
Agree with me. Disagree with me.
Support me. Oppose me.
Compliment me. Complain about me.
Do anything except stay silent and non-engaged!
I need you and you need me.
Okay…enough teasing for now.