I know I post about vision in the church a great deal. It is one of my pet peeves because I think it is probably the worst affliction the church suffers from.
My posts make some people angry, frustrated, or confused. I receive frequent comments or emails from people saying that my insistence that there should be no vision is in itself a vision. Others assert that my repetitive rant that it is unhealthy to envision change for the church and not respect what it presently is, is in itself to ask the church to change and to not appreciate it as it is.
I disagree. I still offer that vision is damaging to healthy church community life, and I also suggest that we are to love the church as it is, which implies not demanding that it change.
I came up with an analogy today that might help:
Have you ever watched a woman undress? (I use “woman” instead of “man” because, well, it’s me writing. You can use whichever.) The woman is undressing. She is taking off her clothes. All of them. Maybe to take a bath or sleep nude or streak or whatever. Would you say that she is changing? No. Of course not. She is undressing, stripping to her essential self. Neither is this vision or fantasy, because I do not imagine her as different than she actually is as her naked self standing before me. I might fantasize what to do with her now, but that’s another discussion.
This is what I argue about. I see things like vision and purpose-drivenness as accretions that are not only unnecessary, but hindrances to church community life that can be stripped away easily, quickly and beneficially.