So passionate about a cause, this week I felt i had to do something. Do something a bit more. From a distance i had been a member of a political party, posted articles on social media, and paid my monthly fee. And also received countless emails and communications from them. But on Thursday I felt i had to make more of a contribution.
I went in the afternoon down to the local party head quarters to offer my services to help in the effort on the day of the election. I was a bit nervous, I didnt know what was expecting to have to do. Id had no training, and knew no one who would be there, it was in a building i didnt know, but it had all the posters outside that told me of their allegiance.
I was met on the door with, ‘Hello, thanks for coming, can i take your name, and… what do you feel about door knocking?’
I was given a team to join up with and we went out onto the streets, knocking on doors. I must admit i was kind of nervous at the first few, but it wasnt long before i was out on my own knocking on the doors and asking of the voting intentions of the people who were in. Of course, my natural enjoyment of meeting new people and conversation helped. Then after a few hours and significant rain showers later, we were back at the constituency HQ, where food and drink was provided.
My experience on Thursday gave me much to ponder, and reflect on.
In a way i was getting involved in a movement which was working to a deadline, it needed its voters to be at the ballot box by 10pm that evening. It was a movement that had been working for 6 weeks on this one cause and it had a simple task to do for those 4-6 hours. However, caveats aside. The first thing I encountered in putting myself forward to volunteer was a task to do. Immediately action was required, the effort needed participation. What i didnt need to do was to understand the party manifesto. Or the beginners guide to neo liberalism or the ‘canvassing for dummies’. I was given a team to join, an action to complete, a movement to begin about the process of change. My formation as a volunteer was in the process of performing it.
There were points that even during the activity that my team needed to double check my name. The election effort and task became more important that ‘team building and niceties’ the movement needed action and common cause.
I reflect on the comparisons between being a volunteer for a political party, and what it might be like to be part of an even bigger movement, that of the worldwide church. For too often the world changers have found that the church isnt the mechanism to facilitate this, and they leave, at best ’emerging churches’ have maintained this prophetic transformational edge, but this is a sidetrack. I went from following a political party from a distance to participating within 2 minutes, do churches have the same participatory spirit- for the cause of loving and transforming the world?
There is a task to be done, the church has the mandate to transform the world, to act in love, mercy and justice – but might our method be the slowest week by week education method and formation, followed by a few moments of activity and participation. Formation and Participation might need to be concurrent. When someone arrives at church – why not ask – what can you do to help in the effort change the world? or have tasks ready and teams who can help? why else would someone turn up? Because they want something to believe in? and why not arrange that something to believe in has meaning through being active ?
Come and join a collective moment to transform and love the world – Join the church in action?