Today a piece of my childhood died. It was announced that Hostess, the bakery of Twinkies, HoHos, and Wonder Bread, was shutting down and going out of business. It is yet another sign that a once indomitable institution (yes Twinkies can be indomitable) has come crashing down because it forgot that it existed for those beyond its doors. They forgot that the purpose of the bakery was not to bake bread and cake, but to sell bread and cake. The systems that accumulated ingredients, combined them, baked them, and then distributed them fresh and flavorful are worthless if nobody really cares. In a crowded marketplace, insider dominated organizations that lose sight of why they exist will eventually fail to exist.
I am afraid this sounds a lot like the church. When insiders begin to believe that the organization and institution exists to serve those inside the walls, baking Twinkies, rather than acting as a source of Twinkies for those outside the building, then its shelf life decreases exponentially. We can bake better Twinkies, improve our packaging, reduce our waste, increase our production, but if we don’t share what we make, it molds in the warehouse.
I don’t know why Hostess went under. Management blames unions. Unions blame management. I am sure like any organization that become preoccupied with it’s insiders there is plenty of blame to go around. All I know is that one day soon I will go to the grocery and there will be a hole where the Twinkies once were. I am afraid, if the church doesn’t learn this lesson, somebody will drive by where our churches were and try to remember what used to be there, and it will have been us. That is why I remain:
Consumed by the Call,