Rocking the Balcony in a Time of Pandemic

If you have an extra five minutes and 47 seconds today, do yourself a favor and watch this lovely story from one of my pandemic church communities: CBS Sunday Morning.  You’ll be so happy you watched.

Strong leaders in both non-profit and for profit organizations are taught to take the balcony view if we want our organizations to thrive.  Yes, leaders need to do triage and oversee nuts and bolts details.  On any given day I spend a chunk of time:

  • Finalizing grant processes
  • Answering emails and texts
  • Meeting on Zoom (Jesus be my tech support)
  • Reading articles about resilience, loneliness, government updates, and epidemiology
  • Talking on the phone
  • Talking on screens
  • Talking with God

But my best work is done alone time drinking coffee on my own balcony or walking through the neighborhood in order to think.

I love a balcony.  I heart The Big Picture.

[Very personal note: My top Strength on Gallup’s CliftonStrengths is Futuristic.  At the risk of sounding obnoxious, I can see the future because: Holy Spirit.  I love what I see because God is unspeakably amazing – although we often get in the way because we are selfish, greedy and stubborn – but that’s for another blog post.]

Elizabeth McDaid wrote this article in 2016 which pulls in the Balcony Thinking of everyone from Heifetz and Linsky to Fredrick Ouko to the Buddhists.  (Check out more about Fredrick Ouko here.)  She helpfully explains how to rock the balcony.

This is an essential time for Balcony Observations.  We have got to look at:

  • What’s truly feeding people spiritually and what’s not?
  • Where is the energy and where is the soul-sucking?
  • What’s the impact?
  • Why oh why are we doing this, especially if nobody is being fed, energized or positively impacted?

God is giving us this time for Dramatic and Faithful Transformation.  These are the days when:

  • Politically – we need to look at student loan policies, immigration policies, gun policies, minimum wage policies, and building our nation’s physical and technological infrastructure.  What is truly just for a nation that declares these words?

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

  • Physically – we need to ensure that every single person within our borders has shelter, food, and health care.  These are basic human rights.  (May God have mercy on us if we stand in the way from serving the poor.  Seriously, we are playing with Cosmic Fire.)
  • (And speaking of God) Spiritually – we need to commit to spiritual practices that look more than What Jesus Was Talking About and less like sentimental social clubbing.

This is what I see from the balcony.  What about you?

6 responses to “Rocking the Balcony in a Time of Pandemic

  1. Katherine Campbell

    Where is the link to the video? Did I miss it?


  2. I too don’t see the link to the video?


  3. Carl Hilton VanOsdall

    Jan, I’m not seeing the link to the Morning Show you referenced. Peace,


    Carl Hilton VanOsdall Pastor, First Presbyterian Church pronouns he/his [why? ] 802 476 3966 church 802 272 4037 mobile

    During extraordinary times, we require deep commitments from ordinary people. Join us for Zoom worship, Sundays at 10 AM – contact me directly for the password to enter.



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