From Gil Rendle's Journey in the Wilderness: New Life for Mainline Churches
For the moment it is sufficient to note that over time in a difficult environment where it has been increasingly hard to operate from strength, it is natural that our mainline denominational identity and stories have become both safe and weak. Our stories, our identities, become safe and weak because we have learned to tell only the more comfortable, less challenging parts of the stories so that we are not demoralized. Consider what happens naturally in an established congregation over time. For example, a congregation tells its story about how warm and welcoming it is to the people of the congregation and how members reach out to one another in times of need. Indeed, the story is quite often true. But this is also a safe and weak story because of what is left unsaid. Missing in this story may be the congregation’s fear of the changed community that now surrounds its building and how it tends not to welcome and naturally include neighborhood people who might join in a worship service. Because it tells only the safe and weak parts of its story in this all-too-common scenario, the congregation robs itself of a future that can come from the strength of remembering who it really is as a community of faith and what can happen in the neighborhood if members of the congregation come to terms with their discomforts and fears. Like local congregations, our mainline denominations have been held captive by the safe and weak stories they have been willing to tell themselves while there is much more that could be said. (13)
And as I read this again this week I also saw this video clip. I think it serves as parable for what Rendle is saying.