Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Curve Ahead

In 1992 I spent a school year in England.
Yes, it was very cool. Thanks for asking.
It was then that I was introduced to Roundabouts. They seemed to be everywhere! (In fact, estimates are that there are 25,000 of them in England.)

What's a roundabout?
See for yourself…
It is a traffic management device.
Rather than car coming to a complete stop there is a yield process and then a series of "spokes" that a driver chooses in order to continue on a journey.

When you first experience a roundabout it's just plain nutty! Especially in England where drivers drive on the other side of the road, it all seems a little out of control and hard to navigate.

Sarah and I travelled to England together in 2003. We hired (rented) a car and were literally tossed a set of keys, a map and then pointed to the top floor of the parking garage where our car was waiting for us. No training, no pointers, no tips…just a car and a map.

So we set off and within no time at all encountered a roundabout. Then another, and another, and … you get the picture.

We managed, but it was tricky at times.
When you are used to stop lights, exit ramps and right turns a roundabout messes with your head!
When you grow up in Wyoming, driving in England really messes with you.
Hello! Anybody out there?
Here's the thing.
Roundabouts are being proven to be safer, more efficient and more cost effective.
And they are beginning to show up in the states more and more (2,500 at last count).

I was in the backseat of a buddy's car recently as he attempted to navigate 3 roundabouts in city in Michigan. It was a sickening experience. He didn't have a clue what he was doing and where he should go. In fact, to get to our destination we navigated those 3 roundabouts twice! Then we had to go through them once more on our way out of town. Blimey!
But you know what? On our exit, he had kinda it figured out.

Here's what I wonder?
Is there a curve ahead for the church which will be big?
The shift from Right Turns and Stoplights to Yields and Roundabouts is big.
The shift from Church as we know it to Church as effective in reaching our community is BIGGER.

In America, we don't get roundabouts.
In England, they get them. They are raised on them and trained to drive around them.

We have a learning curve (pun intended) ahead of us.
It will take time. It will require training. It will include uncomfortable experiences.
But we must learn and put it into practice.


Anonymous said...

I liked your "direct" approach to this topic, son. Good writing. Good food for thought. Mom

Emerald Avalanche said...

The first time that I saw a roundabout was in Colorado. I still think they're kind of crazy.

Tim Bits said...

i think there is a curve, or shift in the church. and if navigating through the change is anything like your friends experience in michigan, grace patience and scraping our knees will get us through

Tiffany's Toy Box said...

We have a lot in Winnipeg, MB I love them! if only people knew how to use them lol