Thursday, June 2, 2016

Ponder: "We do not strategize"

We are never inventing, or constructing the Church anew, as if your congregations or dioceses or national structures — as if Israel — could be invented anew or constructed by the Israelites. The issue is not invention; it is always and ever “obedience.”

We tend to pursue our ministries on a continuum between activism and quietism, which orders most of our lives: do this; build that; organize, strategize. Clergy conferences are all about that, as are all the books and blogs of the world. And if that’s too much — as it surely is — we then give in to fatigue, withdraw, hide. Most clergy end up doing that.

But there is an alternative continuum to the activism/quietism spectrum. It is simply to do what God asks; to follow where God leads. And only that. No more, no less.

Trocmé’s pacifism can be taken as a kind of symbolic posture before the world: we do not strategize. Period. It is interesting that there are no statistics on those Le Chambon saved. Hence the uncertainty of the actual numbers. There were good practical reasons for that. But it goes beyond keeping records from the Gestapo.

Le Chambon embodies the opposite of today’s great “Church of the statistical fraud.” If you take in the stranger, that is because you are asked to; if you teach children about God and his laws, that is because you are so commanded. If you pray in church, it is because God is worthy of it. If you evangelize the unbelieving, it is out of love. So, your second charge: Stop counting. Don’t even start. Just be obedient.

Ephraim Radner, Ministry in Enemy-Occupied Territory, Covenant 2 June. 2016.

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