Saturday, April 19, 2014

Who Are We ... Really?

Doris Kearns Goodwin reports the well-known journalist William Allen White describing William Howard Taft as successor to the ever-popular president, Theodore Roosevelt. “No political figure was better suited,” wrote the Kansas journalist, “than Taft to finish Roosevelt’s “unfinished business.” The times, suggested Allen, demanded not a man bearing promise of new things, “but a man who can finish the things begun … who with a steady hand, and a clean heart always kind and a mind always generously just, can clean off the desk” (The Bully Pulpit, 539).

I believe Jim Lyons received his call from the search committee, to use the language of William Allen White in describing the Cincinnati-born Taft to succeed popular Teddy Roosevelt: to “finish the things began … with a steady hand … clean heart … always generous, [and] can clean off the desk.”

Some fear the leadership of Jim Lyons because they cannot predict him. I’ve heard a zillion reasons for and against him; but, show me any individual in the Movement who could stand up to our scrutiny. There is much I like about him, but I could find a few negatives, if I tried. I don’t believe Jesus Christ could face the scrutiny of that band of peers I recognize as our General Assembly; I have attended too many GA sessions for that!

I find White’s words a fitting description of the recently elected successor of Dr. Ron Duncan at Church of God Ministries in Anderson. An aptly chosen Search Committee, brought a timely selection to the General Assembly who ultimately approved of the Rev.  Jim Lyons to serve as the duly elected head of Church of God Ministries for the next five years.

That search has been completed, the election confirmed by the GA, and now we the church need to be about our unfinished business around the world. Duncan faced impossible odds. He succeeded heroically and brought us to where we are now, hopefully ready to re-group and pursue advancement that would make D. S. Warner’s one-time vision seem antiquated when dreaming of a successful magazine published on a train that never settled anywhere while going everywhere.

Now is the time for Chog Ministries to utilize our organization and authority as intended and make every effort it can to rally the church together as God’s People on Mission in Ministry. I know we were once anti-organization but what is a mody without a skeleton, a movement properly organized to achieve its mission. Yesterday was the day for those of us who claim the Movement to be about the business of being whatever it was we were brought into existence as a Movement to be, or do. 

By the way: do you even know what that is? Do you have the foggiest notion of what we are alike around the globe, outside of your normal locality? We really don’t know ourseIves as well as most people claim. I believe we have a lot to learn about who we really are. One good way to do that would be to read Mosaic by Patrick Nachtigal! I read a lot of books, but I’m re-reading this one. 

Nachtigal administers our 3worlds program in Europe. He is an AU grad, with an advanced degree from Yale, and the son of career missionaries to Central America and Africa. He is the grandson of a German preacher who was part of our early ethnic ministries. Patrick himself is a native Costa Rican, the adopted son of the Harry Nachtigals’. His heritage is a “mosaic” and I refer to it simply to enlighten our understanding of Patrick’s book and what it reveals about the Church of God. 

His mosaic is as purely pedigreed as was that of the Apostle Paul when defending his right to speak as a Pharisee of Pharisees. “Who? What? Why, are we?” He shares insight and understanding that readers can use to form usable guidelines. He travelled far and near, talking to people of rank and of little consequence. He obtained an abundance of materials that reveal who D. S. Warner’s followers are in today’s world, where they live, and how they “do church.” 

While some fear for the church’s safety, others advance cautiously using the best resources available as a GPS for directing them as they navigate troubled waters of social transition. You can agree or disagree with this author but you should not ignore his wisdom. 

From Warner’s World, I am walkingwithwarner.blogspot

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff, Wayne!