Tempests in Teapots
One of the things I don't miss at all about being a clergyman is the tempest in a teapot syndrome. Looking back now, I can see that a lot of the things that were argued about, fussed about, and complained about were silly, insignificant and unimportant. Much ado about nothing. In 1977 I read a line in a book by Easum and Bandy called, Growing Spiritual Redwoods:
We found that thriving churches shun codependent relationships.I remembered how that shocked me. I agreed with their conclusion. But I was overwhelmed by how entrenched codependence is in so many systems, including the church. This was going to be an impossible challenge. It amazes me now how clever codependence is. Spirituality is sly and tricky. Codependence finds subtle means of expression, all cloaked in piety and devotion. Karl Barth as a young pastor was frustrated by the church's mentality, which he wrote was:
on the one hand characterized by rationalistic ideas of progress and on the other by a sentimental pietism.Things haven't changed. An authority structure such as the church is the perfect culture for codependence. I see how complicit I was in its vivacity. I know people depended on me to make decisions for them in every sphere of their lives, from financial, to relational, to spiritual and everything else. And even though I resented it, I did allow it to some extent. The necessity of the urgent! I always made it a point to focus on the development of our roots, trusting that when the roots were healthy the good fruits would follow. But we are not interested in the roots, but the fruits. We want immediate results and gratification, and will usually settle for superficial adjustments over total transformation. We prefer plastic surgery to heart transplants. One of my favorite spiritual writers, Tozer, says,
Preoccupation with appearances and a corresponding neglect of the out-of-sight root of the true spiritual life are prophetic signs which go unheeded.Again, things haven't changed. And even though I agree wholeheartedly with Tozer, I also know how tempting it is to succumb to the pseudo-pressures of daily church life. When you are in a teapot and a tempest starts, and the teapot is your total world, it is convincingly overwhelming. Drowning men grab at straws. Please join my newsletter by clicking HERE. Thank you!