I recognized early on that I made choices that are not the norm in our society. I chose military service (we are in the single digits now of the percentage of our population who serves). I chose to be a minister. Not many choose that profession. I chose to be a Presbyterian. Again, not the largest denomination and not increasing its influence. I also chose (with my wife concurring) to move back to New Orleans, when others chose to move away.
Yet, in the midst of those choices, I always considered myself to be more of a free spirit in the controlled environment. I greatly enjoy military service, yet I never chose to live on base. I enjoy being a Presbyterian, yet I also enjoyed (and enjoy) serving a long time in the ecumenical and interfaith military. I also serve in a Presbyterian Church where many participants did not grow up Presbyterian (and did not grow up in New Orleans for that matter). Also, as a parent of children, I sometimes relish helping them break out of their scheduled routines instead of always reinforcing them, as parents often do. I have not disdained structure in my life but rather recognize that creativity and inspiration (dare I say how and when the Holy Spirit moves in us) is not something that can be contained in the walls and rules we build.
But, as I age, I also begin to see that walls, and rules, are there for reasons which are often good and well thought out. When walls and rules are breached they sometimes (maybe frequently) crossed for reasons other than creativity and inspiration. And if someone doesn’t defend the wall (or the rule) how long will it last?
As many of you know from my writing, I have felt for awhile that our society (and our world) is on the cusp of change and change that will happen at an increasing speed. If we don’t hold on to the things we value, and value the rules themselves sometimes, they might be swept away before we know it.
I hope never to be the soul that stifles creativity and inspiration based on “the rules” and especially hope I never confuse the rules we design and walls we build for the One we worship and the person(s) the rules are meant to protect. Yet, at the same time, as the calendar pages turn, and I age, I increasingly ask myself, “If we don’t defend it, who will?”
Is this too abstract? I hope not.
How have you found that your perspective has changed over the years?
Until next time,