Tuesday, March 07, 2006

mushroom eaters

Last summer, we had a different sort of communion on a Sunday morning: it consisted of...mushrooms.

Now don't stone me yet.

No, we didn't accompany it with Kool Aid.

It was a response to this story from Erwin McManus(Mosaic Church)'s, The Barbarian Way:

For years, I have made it my mission to destroy the influence of the Christian cliche "The safest place to be is in the center of the will of God," but just this week my wife Kim introduced me to one of the earlier uses of this adage. It's found in the diary of Corrie tn Boom (concentration camp prisoner)...And although Corrie lived to tell the story, (her sister, who quoted the adage) Betsy died in the midst of it...Actually, God's will for us is less about our comfort than it is our contribution. God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance. God
created you so your life would count, not so that you could count the days of your life..

The Church Communication Network sent me an invitation to do a session on leadership at one of their national conferences..I would follow one of the most credible experts...I was honored..both excited and nervous as I prepared to follow the main speaker . Somewhere in his lecture he started to say something that totally threw me.. Point blank, he instructed, "Don;t be an innovator, be an early adopter."
[ed. note, google up "diffusion of innovations" theory if these categories are new to you}

Hearing that created a crisis for me since I place an extremely high value on innovation. At Mosaic{www.mosaic.org}, the community where I serve as lead pastor in Los Angeles, we don't describe ourselves as a modern church or postmodern church, a contemporary church or emerging church. The only description I use is that we are an experimental church. We volunteered to be God's R&D Department. Anything He wants us to do that other churches do not want to do or are unwilling to do, we'd like to take on...

The speaker went on to explain that the innovator is the guy who eats the poisonous mushroom and dies. The early adopter is the guy right next to him, who doesn't have to eat it. He can learn from the innovator's misfortune. Made perfect sense to me. That's why he's the man. Curious to me was my perception that he had pretty much been an innovator, the kind of guy who had eaten some pretty bad mushrooms and just happened to live to tell about it.

Before I knew it, it was my turn. Whatever I had planned to talk about was irrelevant to what was banging around in my head: Should I stop being an innovator?....But my mind wouldn't stop there: What happened if everyone became an early adopter...Without innovators, who could we depend on to die?

With all this running through my brain, I let my talk go where the lecture and perhaps God's Spirit guided me. After thanking him for his amazing contribution to the body of Christ and for mentoring me through his books and ministry, I went on to thank him for a new metaphor for my life. I am a mushroom eater.

Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way, p. 51

Now I am aware that this teaching might be horribly misapplied, or be misused to encourage gift-projection..

But realizing we had a high percentage of risk-takers in our church family, here's what I posted after the Sunday we ate mushrooms together:

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 1:06 pm

What a Sunday we had. We talked about being risk-takers..and many saints present agreed they were among that number, by literally eating the mushrooms we had on hand. No one died...yet(: And a child led us...(thanks, Nathan)

This quote below from Cioran hit me as saying the same thing as the unnnamed speaker McManus heard (the one who suggested we should all be early adopters, and not mushroom eaters). The point below, would be the oppoiste of how Cioran likely meant it. That is: be a saint, not a wise man.

Saints=mushroom eaters?
Could it be that risk taking is normative for all saints, not just the Erwin McManuses and other "innovators"??

Saints live in flames;
Wise men, next to them.



Of course, this all reminds me of a great article on "mushroom church and donut church" found here!

If you're really hungry, the same writer (Steve Collins) also has a peice on "omelette church" (photos included!)


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