We often hear the slogan in church circles: “We just have to think outside the box.” But it’s often not much more than merely a cliche’. We don’t really understand what it means, or if we do, generally aren’t really equipped or prepared to actually deal with crazy, untried, out-of-the-box ideas. Exactly like this film clip from the new Ron Howard Film, “Thirteen Lives.”
The idea Rick Stanton (played by Viggo Mortensen) shares with his fellow diver John Volanthen (Colin Farrell) is so far outside the box that no one, including Dr. Richard (Harry) Harris (superbly played by Joel Edgerton), really believes it will work. But they don’t see any other choice. Do nothing and twelve young boys and their soccer coach drown in a flooding cave. If they try this insane idea of fully sedating them and then swimming their inert bodies out of the cave, they may well kill every one of them. But the sense of emergency forces the out-of-the-box thinking; the boys are running out of time, and doing nothing only ensures they die. That, in turn, is what leads to a successful outcome.
My contention, using this clip and the one to follow in my sermon this Sunday, is that we might well see this FULL metaphor as applying to the church and our current challenges. Not just the need for out-of-the-box thinking, but also the absolute emergency situation that we all are now living through. Our culture is at war with itself; our nation is more divided than it’s been since the Civil War, civility appears to be dead, and the church is completely impotent to address any of these matters in a faithful and effective way. Maybe it’s time we damn well started looking at the insane, crazy, perhaps brilliant ideas that are so truly out-of-the-box that they might well be our only chance. It’s clear all the BS little piddling ideas we keep throwing around aren’t accomplishing anything. Maybe the choice is that we either do nothing and accept the church’s impending death, or take the chance that those crazy, out-of-the-box things we try may well kill us. At least then we’ll die having tried to do something.
I mean, come on folks… Like Colin Farrell’s character said, “We’ve got nothing. Something crazy is certainly better than nothing.”
Something worth thinking about.
First Chronicles 12: 23 & 32: 23 These are the numbers of the men armed for battle who came to David at Hebron to turn Saul’s kingdom over to him, as the Lord had said: 32 from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;