Amid the conflicts and tensions that arise in congregations, we have more than enough opportunities to act on impulse. Too often, especially when we are upset, we lock into a reactive tug-of-war: “Yes, you did!” “No, I didn’t!” Before long, we’ve said something that we wish we hadn’t. Escalation seems inevitable, but instead of getting into a contest, we can simply—in the words of recent meme—“Keep Calm and Drop the Rope.”
In the third season of the Netflix series The Crown, Prince Philip meets with clergy attending a retreat at a newly-established “center of recovery and renewal” on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Dean Robin Woods is facilitating the retreat; I’m sure he expects the prince to give a word of welcome and encouragement. Maybe he hopes participants will be pleased by the mere presence of a prince.
At moments of re-centering, we can follow a renewed sense of calling.
Can we find ways to call ourselves back to constructive ways of managing our differences?
Imagine someone pointing an accusing finger at you. Perhaps that person is complaining about what is happening in the congregation that you lead. In your imagination, trace the tip of that accusing finger back along the person’s arm until you reach the torso. You will be led right to their heart! Ask, “What does this …
The end of summer vacation can be the beginning of a downward spiral, or it can be an opportunity to begin to lead from a new, more health-giving place.
Some voices linger like echoes in the chambers of the church. We hear them again and again, sometimes with greater clarity than we heard at first. The voice of Loren Mead should continue to echo among us who care about the mission of congregations and seek to be people of faith in the world.