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Tuesday, June 13, 2017
First Lines: Adaptability
By Griff Martin
June 13, 2017
One of the lines from the State of the Church that I hope deeply resonates with our community is this: “adaptability is critical to Kingdom-building and Christ-following.”
Being able to adapt to the world around us, to the truths that we encounter as we grow, and to the world that is constantly evolving is the only way we can continue to bring about the Kingdom of God. Just imagine what would have happened if the church refused to believe the world was round, or if we never questioned Paul’s instructions regarding women not speaking in church, or if we had not questioned the role slavery plays in the bible, or if we had decided that the New Testament was just fine in the original Greek and we need not translate it? What if we had decided Training Union was the only way we would do all discipleship from now on, or that we were going to stick to all the Hymns written prior to the 1900’s, or if we decided the King James was the only version we needed? I imagine that if any of those questions had not been asked and faith had not adapted to them, then Christ-following would look very differently today.
Of course, if you are not adapting, you are not really Christ-following. Is the Incarnation itself not the ultimate adaptation? Or look at his understanding of the Sabbath versus the more traditional Old Testament understanding.
Adaptability is defined as the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions, and the capacity to be modified for a new purpose or use. Which seems like this might be one of those words we need to really focus on around Pentecost Sunday – adaptability seems to be Holy Spirit work.
Barbara Brown Taylor asks this question: “How often in the church, do we try to say where the Spirit may or may not blow, when the only thing God has asked us to do is to try and keep up with it wherever it goes?”
And once again from Walter Bruggemann: “We cannot become chaplains for the old order, God is birthing a new thing and we need not waste any more time on nostalgia.”
I think about adaptability most mornings on my way to church. Last year I found a route that I thought was pretty quick and stuck with it. Then it became clogged and took longer and longer, until one day one of you suggested another route – and then I was introduced to Waze. So most mornings I turn on Waze and figure out if Mopac, South First, South Lamar, or miracle of all miracles, I-35 is going to be my fastest route to downtown. Every morning is a little bit different.
May we choose to follow the route God is calling on us today, and may we never get stuck in a rut. God has too much goodness for us to see and experience for that.
Grace and peace.