“He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” – 1 Corinthians 1:30
Dear Saints, When do you experience tension? When do you feel like you’re stretched in different directions? You may feel tense when you have to make a difficult decision, when you disagree with someone else, or when you are trying to accomplish too many things or please too many people at one time. For most of us, tension is a natural part of life. If we’re working at a relationship, at a job, or within a family, community or church, we are going to find ourselves stretched at times. And we all have different ways of dealing with it. Some of us ignore it, others of us smooth it over, and still others choose to confront it head-on.
Tension is normal, but sometimes it can become toxic. Toxic tension is when persistent tension exists in a relationship, workplace or home, and nothing good comes of it. It is unresolved, and unproductive. Toxic tension is draining. However, Rev. Emily Carson teaches about something she calls “transformational tension.” Transformational tension is when change causes us to feel stretched, but in the end, the result is growth, understanding or change for the better. Transformational tension happens when a new person, a new idea, or a new situation disrupts the status quo, and instead of avoiding it, we acknowledge it and work through it together. Instead of snuffing out new perspectives, they are allowed to be integrated into the relationship, team or congregation.
Jesus, in the Wisdom of God, was a master of tension. Instead of attempting to avoid, smooth over or ignore tension, he talked about it. He acknowledged the tension between the mighty and the poor, between the insiders and the outcasts, between God and sinners. He leaned into tension, not simply to make people uncomfortable (though he certainly did), but in order to bring about change. Change is hard; change is uncomfortable. But in order to bring about justice and right relationship with God and humankind, transformational change is necessary.
What kind of change might be in store for you? for our congregation? How might Jesus’ wisdom help us to lean into transformational tension? to dispel toxic tension? If God is calling us to new and exciting places on our journey together, let us not fear, but instead move forward boldly, in faith that he will see us through.
+ Pastor Ginger +