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“Elephant in the room” is an English proverb for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. This idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss. It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to concern themselves with tangential or small and irrelevant issues rather than deal with the looming big one.
As far as church goes; it is no longer a question of the elephant in the room, but the herd of elephants in the church that nobody seems to notice. The extent to which the church has ignored the signature issues that should define, and make us relevant is precisely the extent to which we have become culturally irrelevant. This inattention to duty has won us the unflattering regard as “the sleeping giant”, for such obvious reasons that no one really seems deny. We have become blatantly derelict and remiss in the fundamental commission or charter purposes.
At the time president JFK set forth the challenge to the nation of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade; the space program had logged only a total of twenty minutes of manned space flight. Though the barrage of problems to be solved had not even been fully comprehended never mind solving them, yet he took up this challenge. He declared “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Before the program got off the ground he was assassinated; but Johnson, his successor took up the challenge declaring…’as a nation we are not prepared to go to sleep under the light of a communist moon. This goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills’. At the inception of space exploration the Russians had outstretched the America and were poised to perhaps beat us to the moon, but with steeled resolve to prevail, we accomplished the virtually impossible.
The challenge to the church is tall. We are called to do all the works of Jesus, and even greater works. These are works that only God can do. Instead of rising to meet this challenge the church has redefined the challenge to cater to the limitations of man instead of persevering to discover the hidden things of God whereby all things are possible them. As a result the church has become populated with a herd of the proverbial elephants that one wonders how it could be possible for an organization to function so far afield of its true purpose.
To be continued…