Jill Duffield, Editor of the Presbyterian Outlook, wrote an editorial entitled “All Hands on Deck”, (http://pres-outlook.org/2016/04/all-hands-on-deck/), calling Christians to work together in our time of crisis. It is a well written article that calls us to unified action instead of “church party affiliation” (my term). She says:
The line at the front is out the door, so all cashiers come to the front. The patient has just crashed, so everyone on the resuscitation team run to the room. The fire alarm has sounded, so put down the planned lesson and get the children safely out. All hands on deck.
As the son of a grocery clerk, I remember the days when I would visit dad at work. He was in the frozen food section, usually arranging food in the big storage freezer and stocking the freezers in the aisles when the call would come; “All cashiers to their registers!” Instantly dad would stow the frozen items back into the walk-in freezer and head up front to handle the crowds.
The problem with this analogy is that the grocery lines in our churches are not full. There is no reason to call the cashiers forward, rather a need to send them out into the streets. The best analogy Duffield uses is the one about the patient crashing. An analogy I thought of was the television show M*A*S*H, when the P.A. announcer would call the medical staff for the incoming wounded, and the triage team would meet them at the helicopter pad.
We do live in a battlefield. There are injured people all around us, needing what the church hospital provides. But unlike M*A*S*H, where the injured were met in the battlefield, cared for by a medic then transported to the hospital unit for emergency surgery, we expect the wounded to walk in. We expect those with spiritual needs to find their own way to the operating room, sit down and participate (in the ways we want them to participate).
Jill, I loved your article. Thank you for challenging us. I want to re-read it, take it in, and act on it. But I’m also going to consider how to expand it – to look at my ministry as a M*A*S*H unit. Somehow, through God’s help, we can change how we look at the church. We can send out more helicopter pilots and triage units to bring the wounded to the hospital. But only by working together, rising above the factions and “insider battles” and relying on Christ can this happen.