Service Interrupted: A Political Memoir, Volume Two (Day Three)

Prologue: Leadership, the Art of Curiosity

   Fundamentalism is not about fundamentals. Fundamentalism sets acceptable boundaries around a body of thought. Those who will remain within those boundaries. Seekers, thinkers, radicals, wander outside the borders, creating discomfort among the orthodox.

   The orthodox become the conservatives (some would say reactionaries) of their cause. They most often do not despise what fundamentalists do in their name, but rather decry “the way they do what they do.” In this way the conservative may not only eat his cake but have it conserved to him as well.

   He dotes on past glory for the sake of his values.

   In fact, his values are usually worth the doting. Humankind always wants change but not too much, not too soon and never with a concomitant loss of caste.

   The conservative guards the door against the progressive skeptic. The skeptic knows what he does not like, though he may never formulate how to establish what he does want.

   The danger for the conservative may be that he becomes like the aged doctor in Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera. Refusing to retire, the Grenadian medico sees his acuity decline so far he is called in only on cases everyone knows are hopeless. He considers this a specialization but death is always the result. He holds on to his practice, for his routine is life to him. He grasps life because he fear he may not meet God in death.

   In fact, he dies in ridiculous fashion, in great fear he will neither see God next nor be taken seriously by those he leaves behind him.

   He fails to ask, with faith, “What is next?”

   If a leader can be found with a grasp of real fundamentals, which, in turn, might be, the value of values, the inevitably of change, the foolishness of expression, co-mingled with the sacred sobriety of life, humankind should seize on him/her. He/she would be of magnificent worth.

   He/she would be curious for a purpose, like a child is curious about everything. Jesus, the Christ, propounded childish curiosity as a heavenly necessity on earth. The leader who would take men from earth to heaven would be an endlessly inquisitive person, eager for the knowledge of what is just up around the next bend.

   Religious people hit the marble ceiling of non-verifiability rather quickly. Verifiability sponsors inquiry. The inability of one to know seems to discourage inquiry. If one opinion is as good as another on a given subject, if great harm occurs to huddled masses by the spur of a certain subject, if, after all, we need to fear God will not meet us nor men remember us in death, there seems to be a lack of urgency to pursue this subject.

4 thoughts on “Service Interrupted: A Political Memoir, Volume Two (Day Three)”

  1. ‘Fundamentalism sets acceptable boundaries…'(sp corrected?)
    One dictionary I have consulted defines ‘Fundamentalism’ as a ‘Protestant movement of the 20th century'(paraphrased), with very little reference to the definition of ‘fundamental’ which basically means ‘basic'(synonym).
    I have a problem with defining a word as fundamental as fundamentalism(or is it?) by relatively modern and culturally narrow constraints[aren’t there Hindu and Islamic and Sikh(or are Sikhs adamant universalists?) fundamentalists?].
    You seem to have access to a much older set of dictionaries than I.8~)

  2. Our “Fundamentalists” are modern day Judiazers. This was a threat to the first century Church, and it will continue to be a threat to the Church of every century. It will come under different names, different categories; but it will still be the same old thing.
    Some of it comes right out of our evil hearts. For instance, the things that the Patterson/Pressler coalition did had no redeemable qualities to it. However, I’m sure that there were some that went into it with sincere hearts, worried about the purity of SBC doctrine, and thus the purity of the denomination as a whole.
    But, just as the Judiazers were concerned with purity, thus never quite liking the fact that Peter was called by God to speak with the Roman Centurian (Cornelius), or that the Church of Antioch was made up of all those Greeks, or that Peter and Paul would actually have table fellowship with those they would perceive as unclean; there is the same tendency today. (Wow, what a horrid run-on sentence.) It is based out of fear. Fear of corruption, fear of that which can’t be controlled. It is the fear of the powerful, as well as the fear of the holy. Hopefully, some will repent, such as Burleson has done. But, others will continue to steep in their sin, just as the SBC old guard continues to do.
    But, this isn’t just a sin of the SBC leadership. No, it can be found in any organization that has a moral compass to it. It has to be brought up again in those places, like the CBF, lest they turn into what they strove against. It has little to do with conservative v. liberal. It will be found in all camps.
    For those that want to pretend it isn’t there… For those that desire to never talk about it again… They run the risk of repeating past mistakes, and falling into the same temptation.
    Let us not forget.
    Tim Dahl

  3. Tim
    I guess I like run on sentences myself. I wonder if a part or another aspect of the judaizer’s attitude might not be attributable to their apparent affinity for Calvin’s ‘predestination’ as just a few chosen get in because He only wanted a few and “you must not be a member of the few since you did not respond to the simple direct word and besides relationship building exposes me to risky behaviours and guilt by association….”
    The other aspect at play here might be a lack of faith by the judaizers in the power of God to redeem even those of us who occasionally appear sinful or at best not sancitified.
    God is always faithful, man is II Chron 30
    to wit
    Hezekiah sent word to all of Israel that they should return to the Lord and offer their allegiance to the Lord God and He would forgive them.
    The Priests and Levites had readied(sanctified and cleansed and repaired the temple and its implements so thorughly and quickly and so many people were suddenly gathered together, many ceeremonially uncleansed, at the temple in Jerusalem that: to quote then
    II Chron 30:18b-20a
    ‘But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone
    19. who sets his heart on seeking God–the LORD, the God of his fathers–even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.”
    20. And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.’
    I do not know how to explicate this any better than to say God has forgives even those who are not ceremonially clean if they are seeking after God.
    Or is this me I am talking about?(8~}

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