This spring we took “Spring Cleaning” to a whole new level at the church. We rented a dumpster for one week and aggressively started throwing things out. I can personally tell you that the 1980’s were a successful decade for VHS curriculum, because I know that I threw away two bookshelves full of outdated material. We painstakingly went through closets, cabinets, and rooms to clean out the church. We also donated anything and everything we could, pretty much filling up a donation truck full of stuff that was no longer in use.
I can tell you that this wasn’t the most popular decision I’ve made since coming into the church. It is hard to throw things away, and even harder when it has been around for decades. It is easy to become attached to the way things are in life, and it is easy to think that just because it has always been this way it should always stay this way. While logically I think we all know this isn’t true, emotionally most of us want it to be the reality.
The struggle is that when we live our lives in this manner things tend to get crowded. And just like some of the closets in the church, it becomes overwhelming to even peek inside. The term I like for this idea is called theology of space. Theology of space means knowing that you only have so much room and, as a result, you have to decide how you want to use that room.
We all have a theology of space. For example, I prefer meeting on a couch rather than meeting around a table. That simple idea is a small part of my theology on space. Some people put a high value on keeping things, while someone else may want to clean out anything that hasn’t been used in the last six months. I’m not saying that one is right and one is wrong, I’m saying that it is all part of our own theology on space.
As a church, we needed to use this Spring Cleaning as a way to re-engage our theology, because for too long it had sat stagnate and, as a result parts, of our church felt that way too. We can’t say that we want to be a church that welcomes young families and still have space that look like 80’s never left.
What I would also like to suggest is that all of us need to pause and do some serious reflection on theology of space in our own lives. I think Spring Cleaning is a great reminder that sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is get a dumpster and start examining what we are doing with the space in our lives.
Are the things that you are holding on to really what you want to represent? Are there relationships in your life that need to be cleaned out because they don’t represent where you want to go? I’m not suggesting that they all need to be thrown away, but maybe it is time to donate some of them to someone else. Your life is your space, and I hope you are deciding how you want to use it.