I can’t remember who wrote that song in the 80’s (I know, I could google it, find the video and paste it here but I won’t), but there is a certain truth in it.
Except of course, when it isn’t true.
According to Woody Allen who, whatever you think of his films or relationships, is a genius of the pithy one-liner, ‘80% of life is simply turning up’- it isn’t how you do or say things, its simply that you do them or that you say them.
I was put to thinking about this as a result of a workshop I attended today on welcoming families to church, and how the little things we do or don’t do speak volumes. When a parent rings to ask about having their child christened, that probably isn’t the appropriate time to talk about how the term ‘christened’ fails to fully encompass the true magnitude of the blessing that baptism is… instead the answer is ‘that’s great news, lets see what we can sort out’. In the same way, when welcoming a family into church it doesn’t matter how compassionately you say ‘we’ve a children’s room at the back for when your child is restless during the worship’- you’re relegating that child and parent to the back room (At present our equivalent space has sofa’s and a speaker and we’re looking to install a screen- I expect to find most of the congregation crammed in there one week!).
Sure, integrity is key. Meaning what you say is absolutely essential. But if you don’t say it in the first place your good intentions and hopes don’t make any difference.