Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wanted: More Imagination

There is no lack of imagination in our household. Very often, blankets are turned into caves, bedrooms become classrooms and cats become targets of "kitty hunters" (our poor cat!). I have often said in all seriousness that buying our children toys really is a waste of money. I must admit that I feel like one of the unfortunate signs of growing older is a decline in imagination. Instead of seeing things as they can be, we become all too comfortable accepting things as they are (or were), and fail to challenge, risk, and do the necessary work to move toward any dream of what things can become.

As we participated in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's (CBF) 20th General Assembly gathering in Tampa last week, I was reminded of how difficult it is to imagine things differently than they have been in the past. The dinner that kicked-off our celebration of 20 years focused on CBF's dissent from the Southern Baptist Convention and the humorous (yet, evidently very painful) divisions that resulted in CBF's setting out to form a new "fellowship". While the next few days certainly took on a more positive tone, the impression of this opening event stayed with me. It bothered me that our identity seemed so centered around who we were not, and less about who we had become - the next few days did communicate in a powerful way who and what is at the heart of CBF, and for that I was so grateful.

Often, I do not think the problem lies in our not moving in the right direction, but rather in our ability to see and imagine who we are becoming and where we are headed on the journey. We are so used to the same language, jokes, explanations, and rhetoric that we miss the amazing way that God is moving and re-shaping us for God's purposes. We will miss the fullness of participating in what God is doing if we continue to see ourselves as a reaction to the past - we must see ourselves as what and who we sense God is calling us to become.

I could use a fresh dose of imagination. In church starting, in CBF, and in life, we must remember that while the past has brought us where we are, it is what lies ahead that deserves our energy, attention, courage and wisdom. In the words of Andre Gide, "People cannot discover new lands unless they have the courage to lose sight of the shore."


  1. Love the Gide quote, Susan. You are helping us get in the boat and push off!

  2. Thanks, Charlie, and thanks for your encouragement and friendship on the adventure.

  3. Great post, Susan. Just read an article today on the importance of imagination in ministry. You are right on! Thanks for sharing.