Posted tagged ‘Knees’

The Pain of Momentum

November 21, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                November 21, 2012


The knees are going!

Well, actually, the right knee! I’m reminded of it each morning when I come downstairs. Stiff, inflexible, uncomfortable, like a broken bike that you’ve always had, and can’t decide whether or not to junk it or restore it.

As I start coming down the stairs my momentum increases, but the pain in my knee doesn’t decrease. “Ouch…ouch…ouch” accompanies each step down.

The knees of a 58 year old former marathon runner when running shoes weren’t so cushy and former basketball player who still likes to drain the eighteen-footer are knees that announce their presence every morning when I wake up.

We probably don’t think about the challenge of getting from the top of the stairs to the bottom. I’m thinking of following my granddaughter’s example- laying down and sliding down on the stomach. I’m sure she would enjoy seeing me do that.

We talk a lot in churches these days about momentum; that when we get momentum in our ministry there is a snowball effect. There is truth in that statement. Churches become “Christianized iPhones.” People flock to the one, or ones, that are deemed “with it” and “hot.”

Blackberries used to be hot. Now they are in recovery mode.

Momentum is good if those moving are clear on where they are heading. It seems like there was a story in the Bible where a herd of pigs rushed over the side of a cliff. Sometimes momentum is following the crowd in a rush to someplace that we’re not sure of.

Back to my knees! Momentum is sometimes partnered with pain. Moving forward is not always a total satisfaction experience. Aching knees is the rider on that horse coming down the steps. Movement unsettles parts of the body.

But momentum is necessary, and to be strived for. I can’t get from upstairs to downstairs without some pain…even on my tummy! A church can’t move forward without experiencing some pain in the process.

It gets visualized and verbalized in various ways. The 70’s style of the sanctuary needs changing, and it will cause some pain in people who have become accustomed to it. After all, it takes at least three Baptists to change a light bulb- one to change it, and at least two others to stand there and comment on how nice the old one was.

Starting an AA group in the church will cause pain, because there who still equate alcoholism as something that happens out there in the world, and the church needs to have that separation from it.

I don’t have to say anything about how different types of music in church cause knees to throb.

A new ministry initiative to a population of immigrants who have settled in the area around the church will cause pain. It is pain experienced as a result of an obedient congregation. The momentum created in becoming a welcoming community will also have it’s sparks, like a sagging muffler hitting the pavement as the car moves down the street.

The question is how much pain is too much pain? Does the tail wag the dog? Does the knee guide the body? What is the tipping point between “Spirit-led momentum” and “holy hesitation?”

It’s interesting that as I progress through the day my knee pain lessens. In fact, mid-afternoon trips down staircases are often pain-free and quicker. No ouchs, no moans and groans. I’m a man on a motivated mission. Put a trip to YoYogurt for ice cream at the bottom of the steps and just see how I can pick up the pace!

Momentum for the church is sometimes like that.

But that’s the exception!