Monday, July 26, 2010


Peter Bloch writes, "Possibility without accountability results in wishful thinking. Accountability without possibility creates despair." Which comes first, accountability or possibility? We need them both, so don't feel like you need to embrace one and neglect the other. But which one will be in the driver's seat, and which one will be in the passenger seat?

The church in which I grew up put accountability in the driver's seat. If we could just be dedicated enough (or fill in the blank, sincere enough, holy enough, etc.) we would become a great community. We never got there. Accountability is a great passenger, but a lousy driver. We spent most of our time pulling ourselves out of the ditch. At CTK we've made it clear that possibility is in the drivers seat, and accountability is along for the ride, to fix sandwiches, engage in conversation, and switch the channels on the radio. Now we're getting somewhere!

Possibility is made primary in various ways, but largely through the hope-filled language we use to describe the community we are creating together. Phrases like "hope for the future and forgiveness for the past" or "an authentic Christian community that effectively reaches out" let people know that this is an enterprise filled with possibility and that they can come along for the ride. It's a fun ride when possibility is at the wheel. On the other hand, possibility won't get to reality without accountability riding shotgun.

When you have a vision of a preferable future, you are ready for accountability and will respond to it well. If you have a goal to become a judo master, you are far more open to the instructor's training, and correction. When the instructor says, "Jump" you ask, "How high?" But if you don't have a goal to become a judo master, and someone comes into your life and says, "Jump," you don't respond with, "How high?" but "Say what?!" This explains the rebellion that has been seen in many legalistic settings, where accountability in a leadership role, instead of a support role. Accountability is a handmaiden to possibility.

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