Inspire or Indict

For the past few weeks I have been traveling, had obligations, a myriad of things.. all of which have made participating in the "normal" church choir experience a challenge(honestly impossible). Had an interesting experience this morning when I chose to sit with my kids in worship rather than join the choir in the loft. Several choir members actually gave me an overt scowl. Was their concern about inspiring me to return, accepting of my schedule-trusting my personal intentions, or indicting... the group's direction takes precedent over my personal direction. I had the distinct impression that I was thoroughly indicted for choosing family over an "obligation" to the choir. I haven't been in rehearsal for almost a month, I had never even seen the anthem, yet there is some sort of expectation that cannot be quantified or even qualified. What is up with that? My reaction is that I was ashamed for the indicters.. It made me not want to return.. In other words, my reaction was exactly the opposite of the one I expect was intended by the choir members. They want me back.. I was actually moved to leave not join... The metaphor for a church reaching out to its world is inescapable in my mind.

We so often have those expectations of people around us. I am as guilty as others. I wonder if this is how non church going folks feel about all of us who worship on Sunday mornings together. Is this tendancy to indict a free thinker, non comformist what keeps us from actually inspiring others to join us in worship. Does it keep us from benefitting from innovation and diversity in the church? I think so.

My stream of consciousness thought for now...
Just finished reading a book this week.. "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki. For groups to be able to actually work effectively towards an outcome.. (in a manner which defies traditional thinking) members of the group must be diverse, they must have independant accountability, and they should have some way of aggregating their individual responses and contribution so that the result can be "averaged" This is extremely interesting.. Basically, the two components of each offering include information and error.. When the diverse group aggregates its view.. the information is increased and the "errors" actually cancel out.. The result is a near perfect analysis and decision, particularly when this method is applied to a cognitive problem with a distinct answer.

What if the problem posed to a group is.. How do we inspire others to want to join?
Should we listen to a few "old guard/subject matter experts" or should we think outside the box and look for the answers. The only think I can be sure of is that the way I have seen it done for the last 20 years or so, does NOT work. Judging and indicting may be an instinctive response, but it creates animosity, not the emotion filled warmth and feeling of inclusion.

Personal accountability is important in relationship to God. It is not appropriate to extend that same measuring stick to judging others within the church, just because...that is how it has always been done.


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