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02 February 2008

The Shoelace Maneuver

In the great symbiotic circle of life, it is well-known that Felis silvestris catus, the Common Domesticated Housecat, has but a few instinctive enemies, the first among them being the Common Shoelace.

My cat attacks my shoelaces. Jesse the Common Domesticated Housecat senses, no matter where he is in the house at the time, that I am about to put on a shoe or boot with laces, and he appears with feline alacrity to engage the laces in pitched battle, sometimes with my knuckles becoming casualties of war.

Animals (or Jesse the Cat, at least) attack that which they instinctually sense to be either a threat or a great plaything, and I've found myself wondering lately if I have a tendency to attack shoelaces -- engaging that which is not a threat, but is instead something I see as an entertaining diversion because I get to spout my two cents about it.

I've formed opinions about actions and the implementation (or even the non-implementation) of things and ideas in the church. I feel certain we all have. As I pray about and dig into my thoughts and motivations, I occasionally see that some of these things and ideas with which I personally disagree have no negative bearing whatsoever on the Church's ability to disciple Christ-followers, share the message of Christ, edify believers, or help needy or hurting people. I just have an opinion that's different.

The question I ask myself is this: what's really worth arguing about? Or maybe "argue" isn't the proper word. What's worth fighting for?

If you're able to examine your own opinion for or against something and discover that it is based on personal prejudice rather than what the Scriptures say, I submit that that item is not worth arguing about or fighting for. If, however, you see a situation in which Christ is not being honored; one in opposition to the Word, you have a responsibility to voice your observations.

The most difficult part, I believe, is having the wisdom to differentiate between the two, because we sometimes have a tendency to warp Scripture into saying what we wish it would say rather than seeing what it really says. Another unfortunate, and very human, tendency is to jump (or take a flying headlong leap) to conclusions.

I intentionally leave this post a little more open-ended than normal -- I don't have a real-world example to insert. In songwriting it's said that the more specific the subject written about, the more universal the song's appeal (how ironic...), and the lack of clarification here leaves a little more breadth than normal in discerning what in the world I'm talking about.

I will leave each of you to your own devices in knowing whether or not your tendency is to employ the Shoelace Maneuver.


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