|Wednesday, 24 July 2002|
|I just read an article on George Barna, the researcher. He has done a lot of studies on peoples' attitudes towards religion, spirituality, faith, and how everything melds into what makes up the landscape of American religious practice. Barna Research does a lot other research, too, just in case one might wonder. Anyway, the article described his admittance that his methods of trying to change the American Church have failed, yet he warns that if the Church doesn't change very soon, it will truly be no longer relevant in the continuing formation of American public life. His contention is that our over-arching culture has affected the Church more then the Church has affected the American culture, to the detriment of the Church.
One other thing he mentioned caught my attention. He observes from all his traveling, research, teaching, and visitations that most church leaders in the U.S. are not leaders - they are pastors, teachers, and other worth while things, but not leaders who have vision, who are able to inspire and motivate people, and simply change things. Vision! He speaks a lot of vision.
I've always been a visionary, but to what end? What is my vision now? How has it changed over the last 10 years? My life has certainly changed a great deal over the last 10 years! In many ways, radically so. How has the whole vision thing changed? What is my vision for my life, for my purpose, for my doing?
I've repeated said, especially leading up to this decision to leave a very good job with very good friends to pursue a totally different life in seminary (and whatever comes of it), that I want to know at the end of my life that I've made a difference in the lives of others. Technology is fun and nifty and gee-whis, but it isn't the same as working with people. Joe Daltoria made the comment once years ago as we watched a back-hoe fill in around Joe's new basement, "you build buildings, I build lives." Somehow, some way, I want to be in the business of helping people build, or re-build, their lives - lives in which God is in play and is increasingly important. The master architect, the carpenter, is about the business of building us into full life, changing us to become people with destiny. I want to be about all that. Do ya know what I mean?
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