My bishop sent out this e-mail missive today:
During my renewal leave I was introduced to the computer game called “Angry Birds” – a game in which the player launches various “birds” to attack and destroy the “pigs” who have stolen the eggs of the birds. The purpose of each level is to destroy the buildings and fortresses where the pigs are hiding by using a slingshot to launch birds, bombs, and exploding grenades against the pigs. Each level gets more complex, and many players find the game to be almost addictive. I now have the game loaded on my Droid phone as well as my laptop, and I admit that playing the game does provide a nice, rather mindless, break in which I am challenged to work my way through all of the levels (yes, I have done all of the levels). It is a fun game, but it causes me to reflect upon other “angry birds” that I am encountering.
As we approach General Conference of 2012, it seems that the “angry birds” who are upset about our UMC are flying high and fast. Some want the church to change its stance on homosexuality, others want to make sure that stance is not changed. Some want the general agencies of the denomination to be down-sized, eliminated, or combined; others are quick to defend those agencies. Some want the church to do more social action, others want the church to do more evangelism. Some want the US church to be more like the church overseas in terms of its growth and enthusiasm, others want the keep the resources of the US church home to do good work here. Lots of “angry birds” are flying around in the form of e-mails, letters, chain letters, press releases, and the like. Some of those can get rather nasty and threatening, especially the threat that “if the church does not take the action I propose, then I will leave the church.”
It happens every four years, and in the US it coincides with the Presidential elections when other angry birds are flying around, arguing about the future of the US, and spending millions of dollars on negative ads.
It makes for an interesting time for anyone who wants to be centered and focused upon our mission. That is how I would describe myself, and frankly I get a little irritated with all the angry birds who seem to want to attack, tear down, and demean either our UMC or the US. It is fine to debate our future, to propose changes, and to work for any particular political agenda. However, when those actions and ideas are turned into “angry birds” which fly around seeking to destroy, then it is no longer a game I want to play.
Here is my counter proposal to the “angry birds” game of complaining about the church or our country: Instead of playing, how about praying? How about praying for our leaders? How about praying for God to guide us? How about praying for peaceful solutions? How about praying that each of us might be agents of reconciliation rather being agents of destruction?
I note that one symbol for the Spirit of God is the dove of peace – not the angry bird of a computer game. May we all keep focused upon praying for the heavenly dove, rather than playing the political games of angry birds.