Wednesday Word: Perspective
A few weeks ago I wrote a Wednesday Word entitled, “Same Job, Different Job,” in which I talked briefly about working as a clock operator instead of being on the field during this football season. And the other day I read a tweet that basically said, “If you're on vacation, make time to go to church.”
At first it may seem like these two things have nothing in common; I mean, what could being a clock operator have to do with attending worship service while on vacation? As I'm fond of saying, “There's a lot of similarities between church and football,” and this is no different.
I have spent my officiating career on the field. I've worked every position except Umpire (those guys get run over, so I don't go there). Every position has a different point of view from the others. For instance, when I was moved to Back Judge, I quickly learned that everyone was running AT me instead of away from me. Because of that, I needed to learn how to move and position myself much differently than when working as a Referee or Line Judge. But I was still on the field.
Working as a clock operator this year has given me a totally different perspective. I have a full, overhead view of the game. I see things develop differently. I don't always see what I'm supposed to see, but then again, I'm not sure I'm supposed to see anything in particular, other than the other officials, that is. I'm a part of the crew, but I'm not part of the crew. I'm still an official, but I've been banished (so to speak) to the press box. What I've learned (or rather, what has confirmed my training) is that on-field signals are meant for the people not on the field. If an official doesn't realize this, his/her signals could get missed by the people for whom they are intended.
Attending church during our vacation, even though vacation season is over, is sort of similar. We are still part of the same team (Christian in general, Episcopalian specifically), but we are not part of that particular team (whatever church you visit). Having attended our own church for a long time, we see things differently in a new place. We have a different view of how things are done. We can pick up on different aspects of the worship experience that we may have missed in our own parish, or that the people of a different parish might miss because of its familiarity.
Things to pay attention to when visiting another church can include: Do announcements assume everyone present knows what you're talking about (Meeting at the “old Bob Evans” may not mean anything to someone who just moved to town); if there isn't a clear point of entry, is there appropriate signage directing you to the right door; are you welcomed upon entry; do others seek you out after service; are the bathrooms clean; are there indicators of outreach as well as inreach. There are probably many other things to notice that I didn't think of or don't have room to list.
The point to all this is that when we visit a church, or when one becomes a clock operator, you see things that you probably haven't seen or noticed before. We might gain a new perspective. This information can be relayed to the appropriate people in which a change may or may not be made.
I agreed to be a clock operator this year because I wanted to stay connected to my officiating group. Attending church when we are away on vacation keeps us connected to our faith.
In both instances we might find something that makes our preferred space better.