No Time for Rational Management Techniques

The whole thing makes a little sense really. But then again was it ever supposed to make sense? This business of chasing after the possibilities, of pursuing the potential, of looking for that which is lost… It can all seem to be folly. And at this time of year with all its talk of light that dispels darkness, of calling out to a God who would tear open the heavens and come down, of seeking after the One who would comfort the people… It’s not rational. And I say that with a heart full of gratitude.

It’s quite fashionable this time of year to search for a name for all of this. Not uncommon in this time of year to name that which we are in search of as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Emanuel. But I must say, and I speak for myself only here, that The unknownness of the One we seek holds the most allure for me. I say this under the influence of John Caputo who writes;

The name of God is the name of the chance for something absolutely new, for a new birth, for the expectation, the hope, the hope against hope (Rom. 4:18) in a transforming future. Without it we are left without hope and are absorbed by rational management techniques.

If there is something exciting for me in this Advent season, it is the expectation, and the hopefulness. I am, in fact, comforted by the notion that I am one, in a community of many, who are foolish enough to declare that death has no dominion over us. We actually say that we are longing for something that we believe has been already been revealed to us but has not yet become a reality. There would be no violence, the captives would be set free, the blind will see, the sick will be no more, and the most vulnerable will be those exalted.  How? Well that’s above my pay grade. That’s the whole thing, living into the possibilities of what God may be doing requires a certain madness, and a suspension of the need to know it all. I am actually comforted knowing that I don’t really know the answers. I am comforted being suspended in the questions.

We live in a day in age where we’ve succumbed to rational management techniques (RMT) and we have then

for everything. We use many words to communicate our RMT. It’s the stuff of five-year plans, strategic plans, visioning processes, re-organization, Career planning, family planning, vacation planning, all kinds of planning.

Advent is that time of year where we get wild and crazy enough, to walk into a river behind a camel-hair wearing, locust-eating mad man who screams messages that are counter intuitive to the pervading culture. It’s a time of year where we dare to say in public that being pregnant with hope is totally possible and that the hope we long for may even be delivered by the most unexpected expecting children. Advent seed us singing that there will be a Day when the power mongers in this world will be humbled and the weak, the vulnerable and the rejected will assume the places of honour. It’s that sort of talk that drives those with RMT to a level of frustration that leads to increasingly more desperate attempts to control. For those who live with RMT, the unknown is kryptonite and the waiting is a waste of time. It’s a fast world after all.

And here we are singing of waiting for the One who just might be the chance of something new. We sing of being strong and taking heart. We sing if mountains be lowered and valleys being raised up. We sing of captives being free, of the way of nonviolence being embraced in our broken world.

It does not make sense… it’s just not rational. Nonetheless I sing:

O come, divine Messiah!

The world in silence waits the day

When hope shall sing its triumph,

And sadness flee away.

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