At The Young Clergy Women Project conference this summer, keynote speaker Dr. Margaret Aymer taught participants how to design contextual Bible studies with a missional bent. Every discussion of scripture, she said, should conclude with a commitment to action: what small, immediately-doable step can we take in light of what we’ve learned together?
Dr. Aymer used a fruit tree metaphor for sorting possible action items. Low-hanging fruit can be gleaned without too much effort. As you reach for fruit further up the tree, you’ll need a taller stepladder, exert more energy, and take more risk. (You’ll also be able to pick fewer fruits at a time, since you’ll have to juggle your harvest and hold onto the ladder.)
I’ve found the fruit tree metaphor very useful the past few weeks:
What fruit is hanging within easy reach? What small course corrections can I make that will yield big results?
What low-hanging fruit do I need to leave hanging so that others can glean it? How can I be a Boaz and empower the Ruths around me?
When do I really need to break out the stepladder? Have I plucked all the fruit I can/should with both feet on solid ground? Or is the fruit that grows further up somehow more substantive?
How can I minimize the risk? Or, shifting perspective a bit, whom do I need to hold the ladder for me as I climb and to tell me how to reach fruit I can’t easily see?
May your theological discussions and the initiatives that come out of them be fruit-full.