Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Rule of Life

Writing a rule of life, (or in my community's case—rewriting it) is an awesome undertaking. Some orders have taken years to rewrite their rule, many have never attempted it.

There are the few basics, the principles of faith that have stood the test of time, but other words are crumbling under the weight of new discoveries, new focus. Our current rule was written in the 50's but it was modeled after rules of earlier origin, and now it's time to bring it (and us) into the 21st century. The language will be examined and reworked, specific details that no longer apply will be discarded, and what will emerge will be infused with the Holy Spirit. That is the dream, the plan.

But with every dream, there must be a committee to implement it. There's the rub. A committee, by its very nature, can bog down in the frustrating process of compromise. The language—carefully crafted so as not to offend anyone —ends up inspiring no one. It's why the group must be selected with care, and those interested in the work must step forward to volunteer. And it won't end there. As dedicated and prayerful as their efforts may be, the drafts must all come before the entire community for discussion and affirmation. No wonder it takes years. Much easier to form a new community, write your own inspired rule and take those of like mind with you. (That's been done plenty of times too.)

But that's not what we're doing. And (I believe) it's to our credit that we're willing to get in there and tackle something this large, something this fundamental to our life together. In my imagination I envision a mud pit where women in bathing suits wrestle, fall down, attempt to find a hold, only to have their hands slip... as they go splat yet again. Difficult dirty work, infuriating and funny. May we keep laughing through it all.

No comments: