Sometimes we just need to try something different.
One of the difficulties I face in church politics is trying to find the "right" answer to a problem. There are many methods to figuring out solutions. Most of them involve searching the Bible at some point or another. If the Bible does not specificy an answer, we often turn to bible teachers and interpreters for insight. If we still cannot find answers we usually try to figure it out based on our own logic and experience. That has more or less, been the traditional model of making decisions in the church.
Things are different today though. Today we have Google. Today we have Siri. Today we have so much information at our fingertips that we can get an answer to complicated questions within seconds while it may have taken years to find them just a decade ago. The game has changed, and so have some of the rules.
Twenty years ago there was greater trust in what was published. Today, anyone can publish anything and expertise is marked by sales and reviews rather than a long list of educational accomplishments. I don't think that is entirely bad either... There have been far too many years where those who went to the right schools and knew the right people made all the rules. The world has changed, and now everyone is grasping for a piece of it.
The church is not immune from that change either. Many churches, coming from a place of desperation are willing to try anything, especially if they have seen it work somewhere else. We find ourselves in the precarious position of recognizing we cannot go back to 1950, but we don't like what the future seems to hold either. It can make us harder to get along with and less trusting of others. It pushes us into fight or flight modes.
You cannot really experience freedom when you are in fight or flight mode. Freedom and fear don't mix. When everything is up for the taking, it may be advertised as freedom, but what it truly becomes is might makes right. There is actually a political precedent for this that I will post tomorrow... But the main point is that, in a dog-eat-dog world, only the dead are free.
Our founding fathers really were some educated people - some through classical training, and others through hard living. All of them were willing to die for freedom. They understood that freedom is not about just getting what you want. It involves checks and balances, and they understood that even when the government does not have checks and balances, the people can become them... perhaps should become them for that government. But here's the catch. The story we are living continues to be filled with more and more violence and less actual innovation and creativity. We get pushed to act like animals and then justify oppressors who claim we act like them. We lean on our leaders to fix everything and miss out on the role we all have in teaching our leaders how to lead again. Anyone can boss and bully others around. Anyone can spin lies and charm others out of their worth. Anyone can use people. That's not what we need in politics.
It's time for something different. It's time for leaders who can live as examples that point to something greater than ourselves, call us to be greater than we are. It's time for politicians who bury 1000 years of what it meant to be a politician and make Saturday Night Live and all our late night talk show hosts find themselves without words. I think an experience of that could make us all experience a whole new kind of freedom, a freedom for which we all might be willing to give our lives.
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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