View from the Penthouse

In adaptive leadership training we often talk about the “view from the balcony,” and the view from the “dance floor.”  The balcony view allows you to take a step back, observe the dance floor and the immediate things going on.  It also allows you to take the long view, absorbing the context of all that we do.  In times of tension or struggle, it’s extremely important to step back, allow the stress to fall away, and change our perception of things.

Penthouse ViewRecently I encountered a meeting with a very infectious virus, which landed me in the hospital for five days of intensive treatments.  I had to be in a private room with a special filter, and everyone who came in had to gown, mask, glove and protect their eyes.  I wasn’t allowed to leave the room.  I was quarantined.

But I had a fabulous room on the 7th floor, the “penthouse” of the hospital.  There were tall window on both sides.  I had the best view in Rochester.  Everyday I watched the sun rise and set.  It was like living in a snow globe.

While in my bubble, I had time to think about the regionalization work that we are doing.  Are we going too fast?  Is it the right time and the right thing to do?

Then I read an article about the closing of the Alban Institute, and it really hit me- we have got to change or we will die.  People have instant access to anything they want to learn about on the internet.  Alban couldn’t compete with that.

We need to stay competitive.  I look around me and see all the staff, ministers and parishioners,  all the dedicated people in our faith.  How strong their commitment to growing our faith, to reaching each person who could be served by a liberal religious, life affirming theology.  And I know that we are going to make this work.  We’ll make it work in our churches and out in the community and across the internet and in every corner.  Love is a growth industry.  There is room in all of our spaces and in our heart to send a message of hope and love, of interconnection and belonging.  At least that’s what I see.

Rev. Chris Neilson
Congregational Life Consultant SLD

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