Verticality is a make-or-break attribute of the Christian Church.
When we put horizontality before verticality, we run out of gas. Always.
People cannot "keep up" horizontal good works and outreach if they are not being, as the English say, resourced.
I saw this vividly last week. A men's prayer breakfast and Bible study was powerfully taught by a local pastor. He talked directly and winsomely about various problems with which the men present are dealing, in one form or another. I suddenly found myself taking notes. Hadn't intended to take notes, and even the notes themselves were not directly related to the actual content of his message.
But I was being exposed. I was a being who found himself in the direct presence of God.
When horizontality and even excellent words like "community" and "outreach" become privileged in the church, then the cart can easily overtake the horse.
One saw this years ago in Westchester County. A woman from down the Hudson started to attend our parish in Scarborough. I asked her why she was willing to make the long trip from her house on Sunday mornings. She said that her Presbyterian home church had completely exhausted her with its endless calls for volunteers in the community. Then something really happened: her commuting husband threw himself in front of a train one day, and she was instantly widowed.
In that moment, and in its aftermath, all the horizontality in the world didn't speak. She needed God.
Today's cast ends with one of the great classics of exterior help in the face of interior need. It is probably enough in itself to make you fall down on your knees. LUV U.