The Chicken Who Didn’t Know He Didn’t Have a Head
In October we gathered 60 Church leaders to explore the ways God communicates, including how to create space for “all people” (Joel 2, Acts 2) to experience God, “all people” to share what they feel God’s communicating, and how to respond well – personally and organisationally.
The morning began in a multi-sensory fashion with six boxes tantalising people with an invitation to identify the contents using either their hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch or intuition.
Reflecting on Luke 10:38ff Phil asked whether people identified with Mary, Martha, or ‘Mike’ – a cockerel from the 1940’s who survived for 18 months after being beheaded by its owner Lloyd Olsen.
Olsen explains how Mike carried on his “chicken life” as an ordinary one, “…he was a big fat chicken who didn’t know he didn’t have a head” – “…he seemed as happy as any other chicken.” True story! Google ‘Miracle Mike’ for more.
In Luke 10:42 Jesus explains “only one” thing is needed. Phil suggested that rather than the god of busy-ness we need to ensure we’re only involved in God’s business. Even God’s Son “only” did what He saw His Father doing (Jn 5:19b). Through a brief theology of the Spirit, Phil proposed that recognising God’s activity in the world requires multisensory spaces where we experience “God’s flying by and drawing near” (Pinnock 2009:14, cf. James 4:8)
Before thinking about the kind of spaces they wanted to see personally, in church and their organisations, everybody made a Tefillin (Deut 6:5-9; 11:20) to log their day to day experience of God’s presence and His activity.
In groups people discussed and fed back the kind of spaces required in our lives, churches and organisations to:
1. experience – hear, feel, see, smell, touch, know, etc – what God is communicating to “all people” (Joel 2, Acts 2)
– think outside the box; remove yourself from the context; comfortable with mess and uncertainty; encourages and establishes a multi-sensory environment; a warm, friendly space – one that’s facilitated rather than lead or directed.
2. encourage “all people” (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17) to share what they sense God is communicating with them.
– trusting; loving; listening without judging; honest relationships; integrity; people knowing that they are going to be listened to unconditionally – no matter what; no sense of hierarchy – God pours out His Spirit on all people!
3. process and / or discern what God might be communicating, both personally and organisationally.
– wisdom; repetition; personal confirmation; tracking or logging what God is communicating over time; waiting on what’s been communicated; reflecting on the Bible; recognising it may or may not make ‘logical’ sense; an element of faith required; seeking affirmation through various sources; sharing with friends, leaders, etc.