Sunday, June 11, 2006

World Cup Parables #1

Group B got underway yesterday.

England 1:0 Paraguay
Sweden 0:0 Trinindad & Tobago

Table, after the opening matches (3 points for a win; 1 for a draw; 0 for a loss):
England 3 points
Sweden 1 point
Trinidad & Tobago 1 point
Paraguay 0 points

The irony of the day was that the only side to score a goal – Paraguay: an own-goal, a Beckham free kick deflected into the net – found itself at the bottom of the table as a result.

When facing a crisis situation, a measured response is required. It will not do to stand there doing nothing, denying the serious nature of the circumstances in which we find ourselves; but a knee-jerk reaction will tend to backfire, again and again. It may, in fact, appear to meet the criteria by which we measure ‘success’…but turns out only to mimic what is hoped for at the big-picture level, rather than achieve what is good in the immediate context.

How often do the strategies, the techniques, the programmes we – the church in the west – look to, to turn our present circumstances around, in fact only compound the problem we find ourselves facing? And the greater the desperation with which we look for an answer – looking here, there; for the Next Thing – and the more we entrench our commitment to a quick and easy solution; the more damage we inflict upon ourselves, our church communities…and the wider communities we are seeking to engage with.

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