We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Not All About Gibbs

The NCIS Team at Work
The popular TV crime show NCIS offers an interesting metaphor for local church life.  Although Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon, is the ostensible star of the show and most of the plots revolve around him, the show is not all about Gibbs.  It is about the team of special agents and forensics specialists who each contribute to catching the bad guys week after week.  The show is popular because the team's characters are believable, from Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), the Goth forensic scientist, to Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), the team's smart-aleck & sometimes obnoxious number two guy. In some ways the members of the team are mismatched, and one wonders how they can ever work together. They have their troubled histories, which come into play in one way or another most weeks. Yet, out of all of this humanness they craft a remarkable team, dysfunctional and effective all rolled up into one.

Churches are pretty much the same. Sometimes, it is a wonder that they function at all, but at other times remarkable things happen out of the combinations of skills, concerns, and abilities individual members bring to the mix.  It may at times not be helpful to expect too much of a church, but more often it isn't wise to expect too little.