This is the final post of a multipart series on Ecclesiastical Autoimmune Syndrome.
Click here for last week’s post.
Recovering from Ecclesiastical Autoimmunity Syndrome
By Ken Howard
For the last several weeks we have reviewed the causes and symptoms of Ecclesiastical Autoimmune Syndrome. Now we turn toward how to treat it. What follows are a collection of ideas about attitudes and practices that might help stop the downward spiral of E.A.S. and start the upward journey toward congregational and organizational health and vitality.
- Admit That We Have the Disease. Think of it as joining Autoimmunes Anonymous and beginning something like a 12-Step process of recovery (step one: admitting A.E.S. has taken control of your corporate life). Ecclesiastical Autoimmune Syndrome is not only an allergy to change, but also an addiction “to the way things are.” But it is worse than most other addictions, because we are born with it. Our addiction to homeostasis is part of our (sinful) human nature. Like any other addiction, the first step is admitting we have the disease. It’s also perhaps the hardest step, because since we have never not been infected, we don’t really know what “healthy” is, often mistaking the behavioral symptoms of E.A.S. as an heroic defense of “tradition.” Faith-based communities and organizations often have to get very close to death before the reality of the disease breaks through our denial, and sometimes not even then. So start by recognizing that your congregation or organization has E.A.S. and realize that you will always be in recovery.