Reflections on Anti-Program
MICAH is anti-program. Below are reflections on this theme written on March 7, 2004. We trust you will find words of wisdom in these reflections.
MICAH is anti-program...
In his book, "Under the Unpredictable Plant," Eugene Peterson writes "People are uncomfortable with mystery (God) and mess (themselves). They avoid both mystery and mess by devising programs and hiring pastors to run them. A program provides a defined structure with an attainable goal. Mystery and mess are eliminated at a stroke. This is appealing. In the midst of the mysteries of grace and the complexities of human sin, it is nice to have something we can evaluate every month or so and find out where you are. We don't have to deal with ourselves or with God, but don the vocabulary of religion and work in an environment that acknowledges God, and so be assured that we are doing something significant."
We live in a world of programs, quick fixes, emotional band-aids, and feasibility studies. As Peterson points out, our addiction to such activities is related to our need both for control and also for distance; distance from ourselves and distance from God. It is hard to stand before our Creator unencumbered by all the idols we erect as we seek to reassure ourselves of our own worth and own importance. To see this need for programmatic certainty in action, just suggest to someone in any organizational setting that you might be better off designing your activities based on a process of prayer and discernment. When I suggest this, even (or especially) within the church, I am usually met with cries of "we'll never get anything done", "that would take too much time", or just a look of panic or disgust. The stock phrases like "God will provide" and "in God's time" may be good enough for church services, but they don't seem to be good enough for our real lives. Here at MICAH we are trying to live something different. Life, planning, and activity within the "programs" of MICAH are based on a vision discerned through the practice of listening to God. Yes, we probably will have programs and specific activities, but these do not arise as ends in themselves. They will exist only to the extent that they allow us to come face to face with who we are and who God is in our midst. In this sense MICAH is an anti-program, for we seek to tear down all of the idols that would keep us from a relationship with the risen Christ among us.
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