Thinking up futures
I’m immersed in a world of two and under this week.
On the heels of Pride, anticipating Synod Assembly. A time where decisions are made about a future the church could have.
The day after, I will be joined by a high school student for a week, bringing a different form of immersion.
A week later, I’ll be a tear older.
Summer flying by, deadlines piling up, and in the interim my pace is slow.
Formed around naps and feedings and the call of playtime and stroller treads.
In the stillness of a quiet house while little bodies break to sleep, my thinking fills their absence.
When we approach the future, it’s often as a whole. As one thing. As a huge thing. As a set course. As all at once.
And yet, the future is never only one. It’s always located within a series, placement and choices being everything.
Positioning lending itself to different things being sensed as real or made real.
Sitting in the hallway equidistant between two bedroom doors, my back rests on the wall and relaxes to the blending of white noise.
Six months ago this wouldn’t have been my day.
Two years ago this wouldn’t have been my day.
Eleven years ago days like this included two different kids, so similar to these ones in their kinship and affection.
A lap full of four little feet on a park swing.
What an oddity to select from among futures.
What an affinity that draws us in a direction over any other.
What blending that goes on before we ever consider relaxing.
Thirty six hours from Synod Assembly my mind goes to thinking about the church’s future, and how it is to serve these moments.
What would it look like for church to have less structure?
What would it look like for discernment to come naturally to more of us?
What would it look like for our feelings to be tools for our prayer lives?
What could leadership resemble?
What would God be animating?
What flexibility might be built in innately?
What skill sets might we have to acquire?
What relationships might be broadened to allow learning arcs to flow mutually?
What pressure might be removed so that we could look forward to the future?
What control might be taken out of our hands, revealed as never ours?
What ownership would we need to feel?
What might we need to think more about?
What containers might we need to build?
Immersions are time where we submerge in a whole experience and its surrounding environment. Where we put ourselves in spaces that can influence us, teach us, help us get out of our own way, free us from competing ideas.
They’re intentionally made experiences, and intentionally entered one’s.
They bring disruptions.
They do nothing to alleviate outside stress, or returning stress when the immersion ends.
But they clarify what we’ve been thinking, and challenge us to prioritize among futures.
A future at its simplest is unused time. Time that is there to be spent, anticipated, and used as an instrument towards something we’re thinking.
When we’re diligent we perceive them in close and small enough doses, and we grow quiet.
We might sit in the hallway between bedroom doors.
We might lean back and relax.
We might become more still.
However we get there and wherever we settle, we are being positioned to relate to a future.