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Talking Buses & What About Churches

  The corner I live on in Nassau County, Long Island, New York features a bus stop. A good number of men and women arrive in the neighborhood every day on that line, and a like number board here to reach further destinations.

These buses talk. As they pull up to the stop each bus, in the same feminine Midwestern voice, announces where it is heading. Often too, it voices a warning to be cautious as the big people-mover once more moves away from the curb.

What the bus is really doing is announcing its identity and its destination. Clearly, reliably, unmistakably.

I realize the life of the church is a bit more complex. And underneath whatever the church may declare about itself there always remains a considerable substratum of mystery. So it should and must be.

And yet, though I do not board the buses at my corner, there is something admirable about their ability to share their identity and destination with such helpful clarity. I know what it it is ANF why it is here and that is of assistance to me or anyone looking to get somewhere soon.

Rather than say who we are and where we are heading, rather than state what makes us who we are (as best we can) and what our destination is, we in the church seem too often to engage in strategies and techniques promising to make us the’belle of the ball’ again.  

Perhaps instead we might, at least in a metaphorical sense, get on board the bus and speak plainly.

John McGinty 

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Author:

A native of the North Shore of Boston, I currently live on Long Island, New York. I worked at Boston College as the Acting Director of The Church in the 21st Century Center until August, 2010 and served until November 2016 as Canon for Formation, and Dean of the George Mercer Jr. School of Theology of the Diocese of Long Island. I am now Rector at the Church of Saint Anselm of Canterbury in Shoreham, New York.

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