Bowling with two hands?
I was intrigued recently when I read an article about bowling in the WSJ with this subhead: “Jason Belmonte May Revolutionize the Sport If His Back Doesn’t Give Out First.” What is Jason’s trick? He bowls with two hands! Outrageous, surely. Everyone knows that you have to bowl with one hand only, right? Well, it turns out that the rules don’t address this. We use one hand when we bowl, because we’ve always done it that way. Sound familiar?
I wonder if there are similar revolutions waiting for us in the church, if we can pull our blinders off. I’m not talking about the something like the U2charist, which isn’t all that revolutionary — just trendy. I’m thinking more along the lines of the committee-less church at All Saints’, Beverly Hills. Everything is done by tiny cells of three or four people, who draw in other cells of people when needed. Beyond the Vestry, there’s only one committee, and that’s finance. A parish with a Sunday attendance of hundreds and dozens of programs runs on two committees! Outrageous? Or is this a whole new spin on how to run a church?
We’re not very good at creativity in the Church. Mostly, that’s a good thing. Continuing a stream of tradition over twenty centuries mostly means that tradition is to be more valued than innovation. At the same time, to switch metaphors, a living vine needs to be pruned (or even transplanted) now and again.
I think our proclamation should largely remain unchanged, but the methods we use to carry out the mission of the church needs to be updated constantly. The Episcopal Church these days, too many of us have gotten this backwards, much to our detriment. We’re programmatically stuck 50 years ago while the content of preaching has often devolved into I’m-OK-you’re-OK Christianity.
I’d love to hear about other examples of two-handed bowling in church. It’s time to revolutionize church — our fast-changing world demands it.