I hope you will be troublesome young men and women.
I did not say "troubled," or even "addled," as some appear to be to me. I said, "troublesome."
Rebellions are troublesome. These actions do not suddenly happen. Rebellions do not happen by chance. I hope you will be calculatedly troublesome.
We are in need of a rebellion, out of which might grow a revolution. What is the difference?
A rebellion is a response to felt stimuli from one's past as manifested in the present. A revolution has as its intention the introduction of something new, different, improved and, well, revolutionary.
I do not see it in you, yet. I think it is lack of knowing more than wanting.
"No government can change souls," the forgotten Cartland said. "The souls of men change governments."
We have a religious government over us in the Free Church. Our congregational system allows the accumulation of power in a central authority that, all the while, can plausibly claim to be a representative government. The result is what we see in the Wade Administration and its running fellows in Texas and in the SBC and its howling dogs nationally.
No, stop, before you protest. Is the current situation in either the state or national convention one you would prescribe if you were their physician? Both are declining, strapped for funds and image poor. It this is what you want, I think you are foolish. If you do not care, I think you are childish. I do not care to associate with fools or to be led about by children.
Worse, the churches are in decline. Here is what is happening around the nation.
A young fellow goes to a church. He wants to do a good job in a new way, sensing in his heart that things cannot continue as always. He meets opposition from entrenched elites. He struggles along, to no avail. After a time he moves "his group" out of the sanctuary (what you pagans call the "auditorium"), a launching pad for moving them from the old site completely.
Let me not make all these fellows seem naifs. Some of them have no idea what to do, have no work ethic and are not even honest. They are young and wired and have the "cute" factor working for them with their young family. This fellow can tear up a church just as fast as the well meaning fellow and with less good intent.
Soon, a few dozen or more are ensconced with him in a storefront across town. The move is dramatic, tippled with pathos, but disastrous. He learns, too late, the people who go with him do not give, are not trained to work and grow discouraged soon.
Across town the old site has a few people, a little money, facilities that are no longer an asset and very little life. Instead of two bodies struggling to be one, as in a marriage, we have two bodies struggling to survive, as in a divorce.
Churches are dying. Pastors are being killed. You are the problem, you, oh, you, oh, man, for you see the deaths and only avert your eyes.
What to do?
- You will need to read here regularly and pray I can continue to write. You will need to read here for long periods and recommend aintsobad to your friends. I will practice false humility on you later, squaring tiny shoulders and tugging at my forelock but, really, if I did not think I had something to give, why would I go to all this mental effort every day? I have great friends, offset by my rich and influential enemies, but I write for neither group. I am writing for you and me.
- As you read, you will need to understand, this is an incubator, not a microwave.
- Then, if you would be truly troublesome, never again endorse or support any organization that values subservience over originality. In baptist life our state and national conventions have practiced censorship, suppression and repression. You will be threatened with expulsion if you "bat against your side." This is no idle threat.
- Then, if you would be truly troublesome, never again think needlessly, "Well, I don't care about the consequences." If you announce you do not have concern about the result of your actions, you make yourself a fool or a child. Certainly, you are not the kind of rebel around whom a revolution might be formed.
- Cease to support any group that treats you like Hitler did the Reichstag; he called them to hear long orations and applaud the decrees of government. He got things done but, in the long term, his pattern of leadership proved self-destructive.
- If you are afraid, first study your fear and only then struggle against it. I once feared failure more than anything else. My fear of failure made me hesitant to try, thus assuring failure. I have always missed every shot I did not take. What is the seat of your fear?
- When you assail the entrenched, watch for the moment when they respond to prove their own virtue by attacking yours. It is at this moment you are closest to being truly troublesome, for, at that moment, you can ask the troubling question, "What were you doing there, then, with them, in the first place?"