After reading the latest edition of The Onion today, I have realized that the Church has lost its ability to creatively laugh at itself. The Wittenberg Door used to be a publication that did this. I catch myself in this pattern of forgetting to laugh--and the result is I end up with a spiritual wedgie (insert your own mental imagery here) because I cannot stop brooding on a mindless comment that is not really about me. The Church is full of sacred cows--not to be made into gourmet burgers, but rather into running shoes that I can pound into the pavement. This running helps me breathe, get stronger and find joy in the goal of authentic service. Running also involves pain--there are hills--there is testing of endurance.
I see the Church after 7 years of service as this gathering of loosely connected factions who often see themselves being attacked. At least this is what it looks like from the outside. I make my living in the Church as an outsider looking in, although I enjoy the benefits of an insider. I see that anxiety abounds. Anxiety perpetuates the feeling of being attacked; Murray Bowen called this increasingly tangled web of anxious living societal regression. On occasion I see that people do connect with God and each other, and I do my best to name that uncontrollable connection that we so desparately try to control. The Danes call this concept of uncontrollable connection "hygge" (hoo guh). Hygge is a gift from God and evidence of redemption.
Anxiety is hard to manage. I have spent my vocational life trying to understand it, identify its effects on organizations, and free myself from anixety in its destructive forms.
Sometimes I just suck at it.
But the joy will not be sucked from me. At least I pray that joy will still be a gift to me. I am on the lookout for hygge.