I suppose in the interest of candor I have to admit that a lot of things make me crazy. Today, though, I am thinking of one thing in particular – the rigidity of many so-called liberals.
You probably know some of these people. The fashion themselves quite progressive, and they are full of ideas about how to do things differently. They are in favor of change for the sake of change, and have an expectation that when they pull one of their “new ideas” from somewhere deep within their bowels everyone will conform to their new way of doing things. To make matters worse, if folks don’t especially want to do things in this “new way”, even if the reason they don’t want to do it is physical inability, these self-appointed innovators become greatly offended.
At one of the churches I serve there was an excellent example of this just yesterday. There is a tradition in this body that corporate prayer is done in a circle with the people holding hands (I have huge problems with this whole model, but that’s not my point here). One of the members suggested that as we hold hands we all place our right hands palm down and our left hands palm up, so that we are both dominant and passive at the same time (are you smelling someone with way more time than common sense here?). This is an elderly community with quite a few folks with physical limitations due to aging. In fact, the person who suggested this has rotator cuff problems themselves, and so would be unable to participate if the hands were reversed! Nevertheless, empathy is apparently subordinate to the need for pointless innovation. When the idea was not warmly received, the “innovator” displayed obvious dismay.
Now I am certainly not opposed to change, nor am I a raging conservative or traditionalist. That having been said, I have to wonder about these folks who have made change the god of their life, who fashion themselves quite inclusive, but become completely intolerant of those who do not agree with every half baked suggestion they make (and they tend to make them regularly). The true irony in this is that the very same people who seek to impose ways of standing in order to get the body involved decry the practice of kneeling during prayer in that it makes them feel “subserviant”. I’m not at all sure you can have that one both ways.
If this just involved the worship practices of one, small, misguided community, it wouldn’t be worth talking about. The truth is that this story is just one illustration of the fact that western society, in the name of “freedom”, often abandons the principles of good reasoning and common sense that allow us to cross the street without getting hit by a bus. The fact is that we don’t teach people how to think – not in education, and not in the church. Then we wonder why we can’t get good help and why much of what passes for worship is just mindless mush.
My new motto is: Reclaim the Brain! It’s the only one we’ve got.