Hey! I just came up with an idea: How about all churches commit to a one year moratorium on vision-casting, goal-setting, and mission statements? All the people I've talked with who are involved with these kinds of things admit, some to their shame, that they are completely useless undertakings anyway. Many I've talked to admit that once they come up with a firm vision statement, it is immediately made obsolete by some totally unforeseen issue or event or just the plain unwillingness of the people to be herded into the thin corridor of compromise, sacrifice and conformity that leads to the death of the human spirit! Sometimes I think that working on these vision-statements make us feel like we are important and doing something significant, when all we are doing is playing with language, teasing our members, and flirting with disaster.
Today I met with atheists. A few friends of mine, who used to be faithful members of our community, invited me to meet over beer. Individually! Synchronicity or what?! One of them used to be a very faithful and involved member. Then he went through a "crisis", and decided at the end of it that he was an atheist. He wanted to tell me that he was thankful that none of the members of my community ever pressured him in what he believed. He thought it was commendable that he was allowed to conclude what he concluded and still remain friends with these people. He thought it was noteworthy that these people would rather remain his friend than his ideological co-signer. I realized that many might think this was a failure on the part of my community to challenge this guy and direct him back to the way. Not him. He thought it was something I should be proud of... that the people of this community allowed people the freedom to be who they were and believe what they believed. Or didn't believe. Whatever terminology you want to use.
I wonder what would happen if we universally decided to no longer embrace the whole goal-setting culture. What if we decided, instead, to just gather, like a family, and love each other and be openly welcoming to guests as well as those who would like to be adopted into our kin?