I am a bit of a devil’s advocate. When you grow up with legal people all around and witness how easy it is for them to defend basically any position, you realize what “spin” is and you begin to see it everywhere. For me, there is very little in the world that is “spin free” – apart from the Apostle’s Creed.
Which leads me to my corn maze metaphor.
In the Midwest, some farmers dedicate entire fields to elaborate corn mazes. In many ways, on matters where Christians do not agree across the denominational board, I see theological corn mazes.
One believer enters and where another has seen a large and menacing hedge, they see a low row of stubby corn and they lightly step right over it, blazing a new path and sometimes coming out of the maze in a new field. Similarly, someone with a high value for tradition may only consider the established paths and exit signs while another whose highest value is personal experience may feel free to try any number of turns and choose based on what happens when they do so.
This might make Farmer Joe angry. People are cutting holes in his maze or adding walls and dead ends where he hadn’t put any! When did multiple exits and alternative fields become possible? I am not trying to say God is Farmer Joe, I’m just conceding the faults in the metaphor – perhaps Dense Theological Undergrowth is a truer metaphor, but it certainly doesn’t have the same ring to it.
I am also not advocating this, I am recognizing it as reality. My peacemaker heart wishes the mazes would transform into the wide open Red Sea but I have to live in the real world and try to represent Jesus in the midst of it all. There are simply places where we have not all found the same way through.
This weekend I went to lay my eyes upon the beautiful field of someone who’s path through a particular theological corn maze is vastly different from any I’ve ever seen. It was refreshing and beautiful, complex and difficult. In her field were people who wouldn’t feel comfortable in the fields I most often find myself in and yet they were laboring, and harvesting and God was at work. I set my mind to considering her path.
There are a few places where I don’t see the turns in the same way and I am not sure I can follow in her footsteps, even though my heart wants to. Because of that, I may not have the privilege of laboring in her particular field. I do think I can deeply respect (even envy) and admire it though and wish her the deepest love and fruitfulness. I can even protect her path from bullies with big sticks.
I also think I should visit frequently to ensure I am not being lazy regarding these mazes. It’s clear there are many healthy and unhealthy pieces in our personal or denominational compasses and it’s a good idea to check them for defects and missing parts.
How’s that for a super vague and possibly deeply confusing blog post.
Stuck the maze