November 2, 2012 Leave a comment
In his important book “The Tangible Kingdom” Hugh Halter writes “if you go to Africa and hang out in a village of starving children you’ll get a heart for starving children. If you hang out with the mentally ill, you’ll get a heart for the emotionally imbalanced. If you want an authentic heart for people outside the church … you’ve got to be with them. As they grab your heart, your posture will change, your angle of approach will change, and the Kingdom of God will be a little more tangible”.
About eighteen months ago we launched an overarching theme for our QCCC sites. Known as R1202 (Romans 12:2) it’s a bright, colourful hand that is now a visual presence at each site. The attributes in R1202 are drawn directly from the Beatitudes and it has multi-layering so that the interplay of colour, fingers (and thumbs) and words create up to sixty memorable object lessons that we can refer to, depending on the age and demographic of groups we’re working with
At QCCC we get to hang out with more than 50,000 people each year, with huge variation in age, needs and desires. It means we have a heart for people coming away from their everyday hum drum, it gives us a heart of service to make sure they have a wonderful time away, and a heart to see their time with us spent well. Often we don’t have a lot of time with people, but we’re just a small link in the chain of the Holy Spirit’s work and prompting in their life which started long before they come to us and will go on long past.
R1202 is part of that link in the chain, a multi-purpose teaching tool suitable to a wide range of guests and able to be used in a multitude of ways to help, encourage, challenge and give pause for reflection.
It works with Year Three groups visiting Mapleton who fill out a reflection sheet where they decide how they could take each of the Hand attributes and practically apply them into their lives, relationships and future.
It works when a group of Year 12s from an elite Catholic school on a spiritual retreat voluntarily adopt the Hand bookmarks and their scripture references from the Beatitudes as their camp prayer.
It works every time a school group sees how their kids connect with the simple visual attributes of the Hand and approach us to take it back to their school context for the long haul. The leave armed with bookmarks and posters to last in their classrooms long after camp is finished.
It works when a weekend craft group is ensconced in one of our meeting rooms and talk turns to the Hands around them, what it all means, and how it applies to them.
It works whenever it is used as a post-activity de-brief with participants honestly and vulnerably telling what they’ve learned about themselves as they work together on a challenge.
It works every time our guests observe our staff members being true to the attributes of R1202. It’s often that the total package of cleaners, administrators, managers, caterers and outdoor educators are described by organizing teachers as “loving our kids”. (Every entity is encouraged to look for a point of difference to distinguish itself from its ‘competitors’ – and this is the one we hope to make our own.)
This is just a sampling of the ways we see change happening, there are many more we know of and no doubt many that aren’t broadcast. Like a mustard seed R1202 is creeping itself into the social fabric of South East Queensland and making a difference.
Elsewhere in Tangible Kingdom Halter writes on posture. “Posture represents the attitude of the body: the nonverbal forms of communication that accompany what we say”. And elsewhere “focusing on what we say without regard to how we say it doesn’t work in marriage, with our kids, in politics, or in any social arrangement. So why do we think it would work with God? Do you think he is happy with us for alienating his world?”
“The idea of posture helps us to realize that truth is important, but according to scripture, truth is not the only thing or the most important thing. The most important thing is whether or not people are attracted to the truth, drawn into the truth, and able to understand and receive the truth.”
We hope that R1202 is turning on the light of truth and prompting a heart response of change guided by an attraction to the most important attributes taught and modeled by Christ.