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Trying stuff

Try them, try them and you may!

I ran across this article a while back that made mention of what it refers to as one of the fundamental rules of the internet (Calling it “the Google Rule”):

“Trying stuff is cheaper than deciding whether to try it.”

I might rather call it the “Green Eggs and Ham principle,” but the basic idea is that a great deal of useful energy and resources might be saved by just trying things, instead of spending a lot of effort advocating for and against a proposed change based on a lot of unknown “what if’s”–provided sufficiently low costs to trying.

This expresses something I have wondered about liturgical change and congregations. I know there can be real (and often difficult to enumerate) costs to introducing liturgical change to a congregation. There are also hoped for benefits in introducing a change. But what are the costs of the process of deciding whether or not to try something? And how do these costs compare?

Green eggs picture based on a picture by Stewart Johnson, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Pamela Smith | February 13, 2008 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    At Saint David’s we have built up a culture of collaborative liturgical planning over a period of several years – so changing something is not a big deal. But it took time to build trust among the planners and within the congregation. When people have not liked something, we change back. When people want to try something – often a favorite hymn – we’ll try it. It means starting planning with a generous planning horizon and taking time to hear all parties, often several times. Like democracy, it’s the worst possible way to do anything except for all the other ways.

    I believe that a church should be radiant with the gifts of its members…which takes an awesome amount of trust-building.


  2. QFC | February 23, 2008 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    It is a tribute to your clergy also, Pamela, that space is made for collaboration. This is such a tricky thing for some rectors, it seems, but if liturgy really is “Doing Public Work,” well then, I hope more will be willing to entrust their lay ministers with responsibility in this area.

    BTW, this is a fabulous blog, don’t you think? Who is this Phil guy, anyway?

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