Yes, I am sitting in the back of the room at the Church Unbound Conference with a mind and spirit swirling with many ideas and thoughts. As I have been listening to all this deep reflection on change and transformation, I wonder how "bound" we really are? More than once, I have been reminded of some conversations that I have had in the past about what it means to be racial/ethnic in a church that is predominately white. Specifically, how do we deal with power, powerlessness and institutional change?
When it comes to being bound, at some level and at some point, the bound submit their will to be unbound to those who bind. Okay enough with the "binding" metaphor, but you get what I mean. Sometimes we find refuge in a system that really has no real power to control us. There is false barrier that, at best, holds us back because stepping out would be too hard and, at worst, we are bad stewards of power and authority that we do have but refuse to use.
The speakers at The Church Unbound, for the most part this has been greatly motivational. There has been language given to what folks may be thinking regarding the church, solidarity is being built between like worldviews and there is a visible manifestation of the movement that I think is taking hold of the church.
But how real is this idea that we are bound? Is the greater church still fighting back as hard as we would like to think it is? Are we using what power and authority we DO have to its fullest ability?
Or, is it now time to move from the perspective of the "outsider" looking through the window to those who are slowly being given the keys to the house?
There was a time when I used to get REALLY upset when I was placed on some committee because they needed a brown person. At one point I was complaining about this to one of my mentors and they said to me, "You are only as token, as you allow yourself to be."
And while I certainly do not want to downplay or dismiss the struggles that so many face in trying to instigate and nurture change and transformation, but at the same time, we need be careful not to hand over the power that has been subtly, blatantly and/or unknowingly been placed in our minds.
There will be a time when context, skills and the Spirit converge where we will each be called to, . . . be the change that we hope to see in the world. Is now the time? I hope so.