Showing Up

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Pastor’s Column October 2004

Showing Up
by K Karpen

The only kinds of fights worth fighting for are those you are going to lose , because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins. In order for somebody to win an important, major fight 100 years hence, a lost of other people have got to be willing-for the sheer fun and joy of it-to go right ahead an fight, knowing you’re going to lose. You mustn’t feel like a martyr. You’ve got to enjoy it.
I. F. Stone

Woody Allen’s comment that 90% of life is just showing up begs a question: is ‘just showing up’ as easy as it sounds? This points to the issue of participation.

Woody Allen never had my college professors. The ones who assigned a mere 10% of our grade to class participation and then insisted as one of them told me pointedly, “You gotta do more for that than just show up!” (I didn’t think that was fair. It was an 8 a.m. class, uphill from where I should have been still asleep. Showing up was huge.)

So, back to the question: Showing up might not be everything, but it’s the first thing. Think about voting. Some of you are still not registered to vote. That’s your business, sort of. And it is true, perhaps, that your one vote is not likely to sway an election either way. Voting is not all you need to do to be an engaged citizen. But it’s a start. It’s showing up. Voting is sort of like prayer. It’s easy to think it doesn’t make a difference, until you start doing it regularly, and you begin to feel connected; you start to feel a part of something much bigger than you.

That’s what participation means, literally: ‘being a part.’ It means, “I’m part of this, and it is a part of me, too.”

When the Capital Campaign Committee was setting goals, it was clear to us that participation was just as important as the financial totals. Is this project something we can all get behind?

We decided to reach: We usually get about 150 pledges to the annual budget, so we set the Capital Campaign goal at 200 pledges from members and friends and tried to see how close we could come to 100%. We are currently at 102%, with more coming in! That means, of course, that we have more members and friends than we thought. But it also means that participation, being a part of something we believe in, is very important to a lot of us.

We who find a home in the body of Christ have a lofty goal: transforming the world into the Way of God through the power of the gospel of love. That’s huge. It’s a reach. But just showing up is a start. How do you show up? What do you do once you’re here? God can do amazing things. So can we. But we can’t do it without you.