I suspect there are many reasons people do not become part of the church. The one I fear most is that we have communicated a poor picture of what the church is. What if we communicate a picture that church is uninteresting? What if we fail to stimulate the soul? What if we communicate weak expectations? What if we fail to cast a vision of church as an adventure? What if our gathering is just another endorsement that things are ok the way they are? What if we communicate that following Jesus is simply a Sunday commitment without risk? What if we lead people to believe that sitting reverently or singing exuberantly is all there is? What stops us from proclaiming the church as a risky, mysterious, surprising adventure like no other?
I am an explorer here, an adventurer. Like Baggins and Gamgee , I am part of this whether I volunteered or not. I am trying to learn my surroundings in yet unknown territory. I do not have to be master of where I am going. Of that, I am not even capable. I sometimes convince myself that I know something because I have ventured there before, but I have not ventured there on this day so there is no way to know for certain what lies ahead.
It seems that we all start out as explorers. We spend our energy trying to lift our heads and to focus on color and sound. We know that there is more going on than what we are up to and we aim to find out what it is. Why do we stop? What happens to us? At what point do we give in and start wearing the goggles that cause us to see like the grownups? And how can we dispose of such unnecessary accessories that prevent us from seeing things as they really are?
I am constantly gathering data. Not for a future experiment, I am not out to prove anything. I am simply trying to discover what is grand, attempting to experience wonder, working to navigate the mystery of this place. At the end of the day, with more questions than answers, I stand and applaud, all the while stating the obvious – “wow.”