Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Picking up your ball and leaving the game

I am convinced that one of the disasters of the Boomer church was an utter dearth of stated expectations, discipline, and accountability. There is no Boomer-based organization I've ever belonged to in which the members actually felt they needed to a) make commitments, b) live up to them, c) confess when they've messed up and make amends, and d) work out conflicts and problems directly.

The same goes for the church. We've asked for nothing, required nothing, and been pissed when we got nothing. If someone misses an obligation, we pat them on the head and say "there, there, of course you had other things to do!" We tell them that following Jesus is easy, and we don't ever talk about devotion to Jesus -- that God must come first. Or, for that matter, that when they join a community they are choosing to take on commitments to that community.

But the part that's getting me today is that way too many people think that the way to resolve conflict is to pick up your ball and leave the game. Tremendously mature. Shockingly useful. And then they wonder why they hate going home, their kids are a mess (or simply don't think church and God matter, since their parents act like they don't), and no one ever tells them the truth about anything.

We've been lax in accountability ourselves. We've talked about it, but we haven't enforced it. Those days are over. Right now. And if people don't have the spine to actually work through relationships (with help, with prayer), they're just going to have to find another game to play in. A pick-up game, where if no one shows up it's simply cancelled.

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