Dr Suess Waxes Missional: A Pew Forum Report in Rhyme

By Taylor Burton-Edwards

worship-planning-dr-seussIn the days when the scholars
of the Forum of Pew,
had studied “Millennials”
(though not all, quite a few)

they found not just for them,
or their parents, but theirs,
that of those not in church,
but at home in their chairs,

why for sixty-five years now,
of those who don’t come,
four percent is the most
who will get off their bum

and decide, Yes I think
that religion’s the thing;
I’ll get off of my couch now,
and come out and sing!

Four percent, that is all,
no matter what happened;
while those leaving went up,
those arriving stayed flattened.

Not the big tent revivals
nor the TV crusades,
nor the activist Christians
who marched in parades

Not the new church growth movement
with its principle “homogeneous’
nor the crafty new marketers
with all of their genius,

Neither lifting our hands,
nor swaying our hips,
nor being quite sensitive
to the words on our lips

Has made any change
in the new ones who come;
four percent is the figure,
the number, the sum.

While back in the forties,
those leaving were seven,
today’s figure is more
by ten or eleven.

With four coming in,
and eighteen going out,
it seems like religion
has opened a spout.

And while most are religious,
or at least so they say,
their numbers are clearly
now fading away.

So maybe, just maybe,
there’s no “next big thing”
that will actually lead
more to join us and sing.

And maybe, perhaps,
our whole focus was wrong.
It’s not about bigness,
or the size of the throng,

It’s not about buildings,
or credentials professional,
its not about praise bands
or costumed processional,

It’s not about what
we can do in our “show.”
It’s much more about
if we’re willing to go

Where we are, and there find
in the people we meet,
in our houses, our neighborhoods,
out on the street,

In the faces of people,
the ones who are real,
not in programs or slogans,
or any big deal,

but God’s reign, though it seem
like a small mustard seed,
that sprouts, and then spreads
like a fast-growing weed.

Just to live where we are,
just as if we’ve been sent
to be witnesses, signs,
of God’s kingdom that’s bent

On saving us all,
from the most to the least,
and inviting us all
to sit down at God’s feast

And here, at that banquet,
to give and to share
the Water of Life,
the Breath of pure air

The touch that brings healing,
the listening ear,
the voice for the voiceless,
each day, and each year

To pour out our lives,
in real time, here and now,
as Christ pours in us,
as our hearts may allow.

We can’t make disciples
like a widget or car;
we disciple, as Jesus did,
right where we are.

Discipling doesn’t
require big dollars,
or pastors in polos
or ties or in collars

It doesn’t require
that we spend on our selves
to build family life centers
for our own “little elves.”

Discipling is free
but costs all that we have.
Will you pour out your life?
Will you be healing salve

Among those who are with you,
and those far away
as God’s kingdom still comes
on this earth, here, today?