Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Holy Protagonists!

The joke goes like this:  Q. Why did it take forty years for the children of Israel to get to the promised land? A. Moses wouldn't stop and ask for directions.

But before we forget we should admit that the sojourn was made as long as it was because of the people's AND Moses' lack of confidence in God.
“Then the LORD said, “I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD, none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs which I wrought in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the proof these ten times and have not hearkened to my voice, shall see the land which I swore to give to their fathers; and none of those who despised me shall see it. But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.” Numbers 14:20-24, RSV.
And so for 40 years a new people were made by their walking.

This comes to mind because I have been rereading portions of Brian McLaren's "We Make the Road by Walking."  Right at the very beginning McLaren says
"I believe that all of us play a role in choosing and creating our futures— as individuals and as communities. We don’t need to wait passively for history to happen to us. We can become protagonists in our own story. We can make the road by walking." 
It's OK for both to be true at the same time but it seems like the Exodus was a lot less "McLaren-ish road construction" and much more "God's people forming."   It's OK for us to say we make the path by walking as long as we also say that while walking together, the path makes us.

It is especially OK as we are at the mid-point of our two year long agreement to walk together.

The review for which our agreement calls is kind of like asking for directions AND sending spies AND trusting God AND doing our part.

So I like how McLaren talks about us being "protagonists in our own story."  Sometimes more Joshua and Caleb than even Moses.  He's also talking about a kind of energy as much as he's talking about particular roles.

That energy, the energy of a protagonist, can be our energy.  That energy is an energy of resolve.  We can want it.  We can choose it.  Once chosen, we can act on it.

You can probably count on us responding to this mid-term review with a tweek in our direction or effort.  We may even have to make some bigger changes.  But do not think us lost or punished.

We are making the road God is calling us to make by walking and trusting God together.

No comments: