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On Coasting

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Good for biking. Not good for marriage. Not good for collaboration.

I like to ride my bicycle and downhill is my favorite route. Coasting is the best part of biking. But biking is one of the few places where coasting is best.

We’ve spent the last five or six years coasting in a church. From the very beginning, we looked for places and situations where we could use our gifts and talents, where we could put our shoulder to the work and help the vision move forward. But in the end we just couldn’t break into the right spot where usefulness meets need meets a bigger-picture purpose. Now as we look for a people with whom we can fully engage, I realize I was coasting far longer than I ever meant to.

Except for biking, coasting is not a good place to exist. Just passively taking things in and waiting for stuff to happen is no way to attend any job, any relationship, any organization. Coasting in a marriage smells like doom. Coasting in life is no plan at all.

There are hopeful signs: last time we looked for a church, we just wanted to escape the groupthink of evangelical Republicanism. We achieved that. In the meantime we did a lot of good sorting out of this notion of church, how it is an awkward marriage of human structure and something completely Other. Something Other with far bigger plans than policing morality (though we do need help with this) or weekly showcasing a few people’s talents or developing sentimental religious feelings.

The hopeful thing I’m starting to observe is that people of faith are exhibiting behavior that makes me think a relationship with God looks like good work and fair treatment of others in the workplace. The hopeful thing is seeing people with a generous devotion to God that looks like pleasure with other people. This hopeful thing looks a pursuit of chesed rather than amassing more stuff or more fame or attention.

I’ve met people like this recently. People who are not coasting. That makes me hopeful.


Image credit: Benjamin Phillips via 2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

November 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm

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