Threadbare couches 1


Yesterday our team (from Open Life) had the opportunity to attend the Catalyst One Day conference, held at The City Church in Kirkland. I’m still processing a lot of what was covered, attempting to analyze what I agree with, what I question, what I need to change, and where my perspective is healthy. As I’m processing through this, I wanted to take a moment to share a thought that Andy Stanley presented the conference with.

Andy began his last session by bringing an old couch out onto the stage. As he sat on it, he asked us if our parents/grandparents (or perhaps us personally) ever had an old couch that they seemed to move with them every time they moved. It was super comfortable from years of use, slightly discolored from beverages being spilt, and a few rips from careless wrestling on the cushions. Every time a move was initiated to a new home, this couch was brought along. It had too many memories to be left behind. Everything else could be discarded and repurchased, but even if a new couch was purchased- this old one would only be transferred to another room, never removed from their (your) possessions.

You know that couch. “Remember when Johnny spilled his chili all over Bob…?” “That’s where I was sitting when my wife told me that we were pregnant with our first child.” “If I remember right, that’s where we made our first child…” “I remember sitting on this couch opening gifts for every christmas…”

Memories. Tied into an inanimate object.

Why was the couch purchased in the first place? Someone said, “We need a place to sit, let’s buy a couch.” It met a need. It was probably in style and new when purchased. It made sense. But now, it’s ugly. Everyone knows it. Nobody ‘really’ wants to sit on it for fear of what may crawl out or perhaps it has a slight odor.  It really should be destroyed. After all, those memories aren’t contained in the couch. And a new couch would be a better choice for serving the need of a place to invite others to sit.

Andy related this idea to programs in our churches. Programs that addressed a need at one point, but now we keep them going because of the memories of those needs being met. It’s okay to buy a new “couch” (start a new program) and get rid of this one. He elaborated quite a bit more, but I’d like to keep this a blog post rather than the start of a book that I’m sure Andy wrote already.

I started thinking about this in my life though. What are the couches in my life? What are areas (sin, desires, possessions, emotions, opinions) that I carry around that I should get rid of? What are the couches of ideas that perhaps met a need at one point, but now just act as an inhibition to my growth in character? Is it possible that I have held on to my own ways of doing things because it worked in the past, but maybe I should let it go and look for something new? Everyone else knows it’s ugly, and deep down I know it too. It’s time to put on a new self.


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