My Policy is to Have No Policy
I refuse to concoct plans for people's lives. I refuse to concoct a plan for the life of my church. I realize I'm going against the flow, like a salmon swimming up an impossible gush of watery onslaughts. But I just won't do it. So fire me!
I used to do it. I used to pray and wait and then articulate the vision and set out a one, three and five year plan with great gusto and with leadership and congregational support and fanfare. But I have stopped because I believe it destroys, in a violently sinister way, the lives of people and the life of a community. It's presumptuous and cruel and inhumane. I have been on the receiving end of this visionary kind of pogrom and I will no longer have any part of it. I realize how tantalizing, how dizzyingly intoxicating, visionary thinking and purpose-driven living can be. It tastes good, but it's poison.
There are many misconceptions out there. I recently met with a friend who is also a pastor who spoke about getting his people with the program in order to move the church forward. I told him that I didn't use that language or care for the community in that same way anymore. He saw the importance, he admitted, of just "being", but there has to be the "doing" too. I felt my temperature rise a little because I get this all the time. The presumption is that if you don't have a vision or a goal, then you just "be" and don't do anything. Or as someone else told me, "You just sit and wait by the phone for God to call." Of course he never does.
I have to clarify that this is erroneous thinking. Like my daughter, I have no plans for her life. I do father her in such a way that she may have the wherewithal to be a healthy, wise and confident woman. THAT will be her contribution to the world! Take care of the roots and the tree will bear fruit. And it will bear fruit in accordance with its unique kind. I pastor a community that I try to keep free of vision, goal-setting and agendas. That's my work for the most part. Many people now have grown an acute distaste for agendas on their lives. One such woman visited me earlier today and says that she can smell someone's plan for her life way down the road and avoids it like the plague because she sees it as soul-destroying. I think that is radically rebellious but radically healthy. Another salmon.