We finished up the clergy conference of the Diocese of Georgia yesterday at lunch. I wanted to share one more image given to us by our speaker, Bishop Clifton Daniel of East Carolina. While you can't get the sweep of the talks from my reports, I will say his larger topic dealt with leading the church in times of conflict.
He spoke of a ship and a boat yesterday, comparing these two real vessels to the Church and congregations. The first is the Queen Mary. Today it is a major tourist attraction in Long Beach, California. Tourists pay to visit the ship, to be pampered in its spas and to spend the night on board. It is a beautiful ship with wonderful amenities. The only problem is that it is no longer going out to sea and so does not do what it was made to do. It is gorgeous, very comfortable, but the bottom is rusting out.
The second vessel is many miles to the north where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. Boats sometimes get to close to the violent crash of waters at the out of the river and are pulled about in currents and cross currents. A Coast Guard Station nearby responds with a rescue boat, which is self-righting and self-bailing in case it capsizes while working to rescue others. This second vessel is constantly ready and often out in danger doing what it was meant to do, rescuing those in trouble. It need not fear the waters as when capsized or knocked under, it comes to right again.
The comparison is obvious to churches that are beautiful, but going no where and to those out in the rough currents, doing the work of the church trusting that if things go wrong, God will cause it to turn out right again. He went on to share the problems that occur in groups using the facilities and created issues, in welcoming in people who create issues and so on. There are problems out there when we do the work of the church. But out in those issues that arise from ministry is where we are built to be and we have to trust God to make it all work out rather than running for the safe shore and remaining out of conflict by remaining inactive.
Labels: Diocese of Georgia