The big question at the meeting of the Moot this week was this. Should we actively have a strategy to manage decline?
Well first up, there's the undeniable fact that, for literary reasons, there are always roughly 50 adult Beaker Folk. I realise there's been about 600 different Beaker Folk named over the last 10 years. But there's always roughly 50 Beaker Folk at any one time. So in one sense, I have no decline to manage.
But the thing about managing decline. Sure, it's not a Gospel thing. The Kingdom of God is yeast in a loaf; a seed growing into a tree. It's described in terms of growth, expansion, tying up the burglar. It's about winning.
Sure it has risks. You could see failure. If you look for growth you could fail. Could shrink or, doing something risky, collapse.
Whereas managing decline, there's certainty. You'll get smaller, but slowly. You'll never burst into life, but then you'll never collapse like a red giant going supernova. You'll just quietly fold away, patting the hands of the old faithfuls in reassurance, until you're all dead.
And there's freedom there. Why worry about doing radical stuff? Why worry if people outside the church are attracted, appalled or alarmed? You can just do your own stuff, in your own way, till there's nobody left to do it.
And winning is just another word for triumphalism, ain't it?
So yeah. Managing decline sounds good to me. As long as there's still fifty of us.