Meanwhile, in Churches all over the country, some programmed activities stagger on way past their sell-by date, bereft of passion, commitment and support, running on guilt and the fading memory of supposedly glorious days gone by.
Into these troubling predicaments ride Jeff and Caroline Wilkinson of Towson, Maryland, USA, (h/t Ali Kaan) with a breakthrough discovery for manegement consultants everywhere:
One might add “introducing a new appraisal scheme” and “setting smart targets.” Why don’t Christians have a more coherent internalised theology of death and resurrection? We are called to what St Paul called “carrying about in the body the death of the Lord Jesus so that the life of the Lord Jesus may live through us.” That’s why churches rot away on the outside, but are continually renewed within, by God’s good providence.
The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that, "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount." However, in modern business, education and government, a whole range of far more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:
- Buying a stronger whip.
- Changing riders.
- Threatening the horse with termination.
- Appointing a committee to study the horse.
- Arranging to visit other countries to see how others ride dead horses.
- Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
- Reclassifying the dead horse as "living impaired".
- Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
- Harnessing several dead horses together to increase the speed.
- Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's performance.
- Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.
- Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead, and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.
- Rewriting the expected performance requirements on all horses.
- Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.
Inability or refusal to grasp and internalise this basic “life and death” principle of Christianity leads to triumphalism, dead institutonalism, infallibilism, fundmentalisms various, and paranoia about being persecuted. It saps energy and stirs contention. It encourages Christians in stormy waters to cling to the wreckage, when they should be putting out into the deep.
Real Easter faith, is accepting the deadness of what really is dead and to trusting in God, who raises the dead, for all that is to be. As demonstrated by Jesus on the night of his arrest, saving faith is about knowing we have come from God and are returning to him, whatever may come in between...
image of King Wenceslas riding a horse upside down from Adam Paul: All rights reserved. Used by kind permission.