The hours before and after midnight of July 5 I read the Tmail from The Mennonite that reported Day 2 of the Orlando Convention. A keynote address was delivered by Phil Kniss. I remember Phil as a boy and now his picture showed him with graying hair. I like the way he started his address:
Kniss started out by owning his social location within the church. “We are having a Future Church Summit here, and I’m smack dab in the middle of the church of the past,” he said. “I’m not apologizing for who I am. But we who have the privilege and power must stop and listen longer, deeper and with more vulnerability.”
Kniss said that those who have traditionally held positions of power will need to “become OK having less of a voice and fewer votes in a [church] board room” and he noted that “we are all healthier when we own up to the power we have and give account to others for how we exercise it.
This reminded me of “The Fantasy Sermon” I imagined myself preaching to a fantasy congregation which I posted on this website. You may find it an interesting read by clicking here I believed what I preached and concluded,
Finally, the seniors, middle-aged, and youth of this (fantasy) congregation need to communicate with one another. Seniors need to help the youth to believe that the unchangeable can be changed, the immovable can be moved, and the impossible can be done. Youth need the middle-aged to legitimize their vision. The pain of change is followed by the challenges of new life, hope and opportunity.
I hope that the attitudes described by Kniss and the kind of inter-generational conversations fantasized above take place at the convention and the summit that follows. If it happens it will not be because of outside influences, but because the people who are there sway to the blowing of the Holy Spirit.
While pondering the posts about the Orlando Mennonite Convention, I was also thinking of the testimony of Pastor Pamela Yoder to our children at CMC. She helped them and the adults in the church to understand that before she was a Mennonite she was a soldier in the United States Army and Indiana’s nation guard. This is worth hearing. You may click on the link and scroll into the service 20 minutes to hear her life story. Click here. She said that Jesus was with her all the time. I believe her. As we stop and listen and speak and allow the church to be more inclusive, a green church grows greener.
green greening greener
divided church wilts and droops
green growth with Jesus