Church: In your emphasis on the urgency of “now,” you overlook ancient truths. It takes only a committed few to change the world. It only took twelve empowered but far from perfect disciples who spread Christianity across a hostile world! And as for changing times, well I've been through that plenty of times before. Many have signaled for the flag declaring my death before. The Church has been through persecutions, crusades, inquisitions, scandals, political revolutions, scientific revolutions, ups, downs, and many other tribulations. I might move slowly for you but sometimes slow and reflective is exactly what is needed among the hustle and the bustle. There are far too many voices proclaiming the next, the newest, the greatest, the best, and the biggest without listening for the still small voice of God (1Kings 19:11-12). I'm afraid I’m just not as concerned as you are.
Efficiency: Oh, your focus on the past proves my point! Oh, how I wish you would listen! Times are different today. Without adapting to make yourself efficient, up-to-date, relevant, for heaven's sake, you'll continue to die out. Check your own statistics! Get your head out of the sand and be realistic. You are being too naïve!
Church: Naïve! Adapting to the culture? Like when some of the Lutherans and others adapted to the Nazi regime? Like with theology adapts so much to cultural truths there is very little Good News left to proclaim? Like the inquisition? Like indulgences?
Silence captures them both.
Church: You do raise several questions though, Efficiency. The sorts of questions I am seeking answers for. How should I relate to the surrounding culture today? Where is the boundary between adjusting to cultural context and cultural values dictating beliefs? Or the line between maintaining a holy distinction as God's called out people and irrelevance to the needs of the time? Between incarnational ministry and pandering?
Efficiency: Those questions are not going far enough, Church. You need me to help you adapt to regain your once dominant influence over the culture. Let us enter a contractual agreement and I can help you make the adaptions you desperately and quickly need to make.
Church: Thank you Efficiency for a helpful dialogue. I really must be going. Perhaps I can work on my efficiency by leaving this conversation!?
Efficiency: Nor do I have time for such a worthless conversation. What a waste of my time!