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Gathering plenary speaker 1

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On Bungee Cords and Floating Together

“To live out our calling is to manage the tension that it creates”

—Bruce Enns

This made me think of bungee cords. As a foreman for a treeplanting crew in Northern B.C., I spent innumerable hours on a quad hauling trees to planters. Seedling boxes would be stacked, front and rear, to the point of Dr. Seuss-ian improbability, and then held in place with an (often deteriorating) black bungee. Then, as I traversed the mountainside on some rough and precarious track, I’d do my best to “manage the tension,” to avoid spilling my load into some creek or (worse) snapping my precious bungee.

Tension-management strategies included slowing down for obstacles, shifting my balance on side-slopes, even removing a box or two from time to time when I had to navigate some particularly rickety planter-built bridge.

Bruce wisely pointed us back to the words of the Apostle Paul for the tension-management strategy he gives to us, the church of Jesus: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2-3). Like driving a quad across a cutblock, it’s going to take effort to manage the tensions we experience as a called people. And, it seems, some patient, gentle driving, so we don’t snap our bungee or tumble off into some creek.

“Calling creates a tension of longing for more…”

—Bruce Enns

On the ride home, I got curious about why my heart seems to have an allergic reaction to the word “more” (Sorry, Bruce!).

Is it that every advertisement I’ve watched during my (too many) hours watching the World Cup these past few weeks is telling me I should not be satisfied with what I have but I should want more (speed, style, satisfaction, etc.)?

Is it that I resist applying these assumptions of consumerist capitalism to our faith and our church family?

Is it that I’m personally fighting to maintain some human balance between my callings as a husband, father, and pastor and the word “more” seems, at the least, unwelcome?

As I mused out loud, my car-mate wisely took me back to the personal encounter our brother Paul Dück shared so vulnerably with us earlier in the evening: of how God spoke to him through the words of Ezekiel 47, inviting him to move out “deeper,” to where he cannot touch the bottom, to where he would be entirely surrendered in the waters of obedience to the movement of God’s Spirit.

Sure, this is a form of “more,” but only in a Jesus, upside-down kind of way. There’s nothing to achieve, to acquire or to consume as I swim out into the current, unencumbered by anything I might call “mine.”

And this leads me back to the question Bruce asked us in regards to the four messages that came from the 2011 National Office Review:

“Do these describe (a part of) our unique calling as MBs in Canada?”

Good question, Bruce.

There might be tension as we seek an answer. And that’s okay – that comes with being called.

But my prayer this week will be that we might resist the grasping forms of “more”-ness that poison the air around us, and, instead, learn a little about floating together, where none of us can touch.

[Rod serves as a pastor in Hepburn, Sask., where he’s still learning to float.

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