The Toronto/Hamilton conference scheduled for July 18-19 has been cancelled due to several factors. The World Health Organization, is advising "people postpone all non-essential travel to Toronto." In addition to official warnings, many attendees have expressed anxiety about the various aspects of travel (i.e., lack of dining, lodging, and transportation options). For our attendees' safety and to ease their concerns, Women of Faith felt there was no other choice but to cancel this event.Actually, I can't blame them. It's not their fault that the whole thing was overblown. The funniest story I heard today was that a faith healer cancelled a trip to Toronto. That's so funny it's got to be true.
Over the years, we have walked intimately with pastoral leaders from a variety of denominations and cultures in our city and across the country. Far too many are fatigued and spiritually empty. They day-to-day stress of managing an institutional church - small or large - robs them of their personal vitality. In this condition, they simply cannot provide the effective leadership required to lead a congregation down a path of change. (Jim Herrington, R. Robert Creech, and Trisha Taylor, The Leader's Journey)
The Church needs to come to a point where quite simply, seeking the face of God is the sole objective. What else is there? A worship centered church. I'm not suggesting we "worship the music" nor do I believe we should replace our worship team with performers and become an audience. But I see a real need for total, complete freedom and an all out abandon to worship, not to be constrained by time or agendas, to be able to stand before the real audience...of One.
So this is our challenge for today: How can we find value in the stories that exist and let them not just be wiped out by the biblical story, but redeemed by the biblical story? The word "redeem" is a beautiful word. It means to be given new value. Of course, people might reject it. Of course, then their problem is...which story are they going to choose instead? And, to me this is the great crisis that we face, because there are three or four alternative stories out there, and they're pretty scary. One is the story of consumerism, and it says that the purpose of life is to own and consume more stuff. It's not hard to see where that one will lead us. Another is militaristic U.S. or fundamentalist Islam. So which story are we going to choose, which context?