Friday, September 19, 2014

Old Jeans And Congregations

There's a certain alchemy to blue jeans. They start out rugged and unyielding, and slowly break in to the ultimate in practical comfort. 

I had a pair of jeans I just loved. The fit was great, the denim had a bit of a pattern, and oh, the texture was just perfect. After years and years, though, the jeans were nigh threadbare.  And while some holes can be mended, well, at a certain point there is no structural integrity--no way to anchor a stitch into a morass of what's basically blue wisps of nostalgia.

I dragged things out too long, but eventually I took a deep breath and tossed those pants in the trash, and got that trash bag out of the house before I could reconsider.

In our congregations we have our comfortable blue jeans, too. They might be programs or positions or events or even physical objects, no longer attractive or even practical, but things we just can't bring ourselves to cull.

Warning signs that there's a need for culling:
*Nobody wants to plan an event, but people can't imagine the year without it

*When describing the program, people say, "Well, it used to be..."
*There's a particular person associated with the thing, and we wouldn't want that person to feel bad. Or get angry. Or act out in any way.

*The main reason the thing still exists is that we don't know how to get rid of it.

This is by no means a comprehensive list.  What would you add?

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