This post is part of an ongoing blog series on Pomomusings entitled “(Re)Imagining Christianity.” To read about the series, as well as get a full schedule of participants, click here.
What is one belief, practice or element of Christianity that we must hold onto and live out more fully so that Christianity can move forward and truly impact the world in the next 100 years?
When I think about the future of the Christian faith, and what we need to keep before us to truly impact the world for the next 100 years, all I can think is, “Wow, I hope that God continues to call incompetent people.”
As Seth Godin writes in his recent book Stop Stealing Dreams:
“Competent people have a predictable, reliable process for solving a particular set of problems. They solve a problem the same way every time. Thatâ€™s what makes them reliable. Thatâ€™s what makes them competent.”
People who are competent have worked hard to become so. They have learned the rules and they follow them. If you need the Right Answer, you ask the competent person. This has historically led to reward because our society affirms people who know the rules, follow them, and get others to follow them.
But in looking at what is in store for the Christian faith, with all its changes and upheavals, I think competent people are overrated. Competent people have a tendency to guard the status quo, to do it the “proven” way. There is no way they are going to allow change to occur because that serves to undermine their ability to be competent.
Most of churches have been helmed by competent people for at least a couple of generations, but â€“ God bless ’em â€“ all its really gotten us is an efficient set of processes. I’m ready to give the incompetent people a try again. It’s the incompetent people who rock the boat and break the rules, and, by questioning long held assumptions, end up setting our faith on important trajectories.
Iâ€™m talking about folks like one of my ancestors, William Heth Whitsitt, who was the President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the late 1800’s. He was forced out in 1899 for publishing, after careful study, that the practice of immersion in Baptist congregations could not be traced back to John the Baptist, but to the year 1641 in England. William published his findings at great peril to himself and the seminary he served, but he did it anyway.
More than anything, as we continue down this long road to what God would have of us next, I think we need to continue to hold onto and cherish those that upset our decent and in order apple carts, because only they are going to help us get to where we need to go.
Landon Whitsitt: Landon Whitsitt is a writer, speaker, theologian, and artist. He is the author of Open Source Church: Making Room for the Wisdom of All and the free ebook Theology Is Art. He blogs at landonwhitsitt.com