I suppose it is what the nuns used to call a “mystery” when I was growing up in Catholic grade school. The name I have learned recently for this is a polarity.

A polarity is a pair of opposing realities which create tension. They are managed only by “and thinking” rather than “either/ or thinking”. In a faith community, the polarities are many: spiritual health and institutional health, strong minister and strong empowered members, in-reach and out-reach, comfort and growth. Balancing these is not always easy, but when done right it is always creative and always transformative.

For months were in the midst of a polarity: strong community spirit seeking growth and a wounded church building limiting space. From this “and” we have emerged as a stronger community, poised for even greater things. And as we move in to this growth, it seems very certain to me that we will move in to new polarities and continue to face old ones.

We rely on the certain faith that God is the source of our supply and act wisely in the face of an operating fund deficit. We must do more with less (for a time) and we must take care of our staff who rely on God acting through us for their income. We must shine our light in to the world and we must take care of each other. We must be open and receptive to the flow of Spirit and we must create the systems and structures which support members to express their talents and gifts. We must meet our needs and move in to our opportunities.

We are flesh and spirit, moment and eternity, limited and limitless, faith and wisdom. These are the challenges which fuel the transformational journey. We face them individually and we embrace them together. I am so grateful that we can. Thank you God!


Mark Melecki