Transforming Thought: Reconsidering Fire

Fire — oxygen, fuel and a spark — it’s one thing that shouldn’t change. Right?

Or does it?

Earlier this week, an article in The New York Times described how the New York City fire department is reconsidering … well … fire. Fighting fires, more precisely. Because the average home has far more plastic than in the past, fires develop far more rapidly. Firefighters are having to reconsider a century-old tradition of venting a fire as the first line of defense.

The article quotes Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano: “’We’re an organization steeped in tradition and we’ve been fighting fires for many years in certain ways and they worked.’” … “’But we owe it to everybody who works for us and the people we serve to look at the way we fight fires.’”

Well, maybe the fire itself didn’t change. But, the circumstances surrounding fire did. Firefighters are having to question what they’ve considered the most effective way to fight a fire for more than a century.

Sounds a lot like the church doesn’t it? God, like fire, may not have changed. The stories of the faith may not have changed. The rituals and traditions may not have changed. But, the circumstances sure have. We are in a place of reconsidering what we’ve done for more than a century. Confronting what is no longer effective about our ministry (a.k.a. firefighting) is hard because it not only forces us to change our traditional ways of being, it makes us feel a little bit like a failure.

What if we just move beyond this “stuckness” and instead embrace the change? What has a changing reality forced you to reconsider in your church? What are some new ways of being you’ve embraced to deal with current reality?

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