Thursday, January 8, 2009

Deckchair or Lifeboat?

Now that I am down to about 5 kleenexes/hour, and the coughing only lasts the first 2 hours of the day, I am trying to get back in the swing of things. Nell has been at school for the first two full days, but I'm afraid she's caught this bug now, so she's taking it easy (which is hard for her). Ruth heads back to college on Monday, and everything goes to full speed next week at Church (we're at about 1/2 speed this week).
As I've been reading the blogs, I've been thinking about Bruce Reyes-Chow's challenge to define a center that can hold inside the PC(USA), about Beau Weston's assertions that the tall-steeple pastors should re-form their "establishment" to form that center.
The image may be brutal, but I think it is apt. It doesn't matter whether you are partial to the port side, starboard side, bow, midships, or stern of the Titanic. There is no sense in arguing where is the best place to gather together. All parts of the ship are headed in the same direction. The ship turns out to not be "unsinkable" after all. If this last six months should have taught us arrogant Westerners anything, it should be that no human creation is unsinkable, or too big to fail.
All of the foundational institutions of "the American Century"-- corporations, unions, health insurance, pensions-- are coming apart. The question is not how to save them, but how to create what comes next. In that context, the question of a "center" makes sense.
This is the great enterprise of this time-- and it will not be engaged in by those who are on the deck, with their shoulders to the wheels of the old system as it grinds its way into oblivion. The grand enterprise will start as a collection of lifeboats, not some sheared-off portion of the old ship. This is why I believe that Dr. Weston is mistaken. The real creative energy of a new center is not going to be found in the first class saloon of the old; it will be found in those striking out in new directions around the periphery. If there is a hope for something new to salvage the precious treasure bound up in the old, it is in the lifeboats.
Let those who want to yell about whether the iceberg was on the left or the right of the ship, whether if we had turned to port or starboard things might have been different-- let them argue on. There are new horizons to be explored with those ready to get in a smaller craft. I see no reason why Bruce and I cannot explore that new horizon with our two boats together. In fact, sticking together makes MORE sense in a lifeboat than it does in a deckchair. The era of the modern American Titanic is over, for good or for ill. Let's save what we can of her, and see what the Lord will lead us to build to replace her.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Clay and glad to hear of some normalcy in your life! Blessings on you and your family.