In The Godfather movie trilogy, the phrase “go to the mattresses” appears, but without a lot of the background that you find in the book. When one crime family goes to war with another, they will rent apartments in secret locations as safe houses away from their regular homes and families. They will fill these apartments with mattresses, and sleep there until the war is over. This affords some protection for their families in keeping them from gunfire by not being around them during the worst periods of the war, and affords some protection for them by virtue of remaining hidden and accompanied by their fellow soldiers. The phrase appears in the movie as a metaphor for an all-out war with another crime family. This, I suggest, is not the best model for taking on the critics of the emerging church.

We can thank Stephen Shields for further thoughts on the emerging storm, which can be found in a blog recent post Toward a Praxis of Christian Disagreement: A lesson from Puzo and Coppola. Now, you have to admire a perspective on dealing w ith criticism in church that draws analogy from The Godfather. He omits to mention exactly how The Family assists Woltz in seeing things their way, but that isn’t exactly the primary method of conflict resolution he’s recommending. After all, not all the critics of the emerging church own racehorses, so responding with “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” isn’t as convincing coming from the non-Corleone members of the emerging church “family.”

Coincidentally, The Godfather happens to be on TV this evening as I post…

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