The life of a parent is short and hectic. It’s not good for them. Being the benevolent person you all know me to be, I have taken it upon myself to address their lack of patience, and teach them this valuable life skill.
If I’m playing with my friends and Mommy says “It’s time to go, Miranda,” I see a learning opportunity. After all, does it really matter if we leave right this moment? Of course not, but Mommy doesn’t understand that. She’s too worried about silly things like food in the oven. That’s where food is supposed to be, Mommy.
Or Daddy might tell me to put away my blocks. It’s unhealthy to be concerned about these things all the time. After all, he’s certainly not that concerned when I inform him that I need a toy from somewhere I can’t reach. I think these teachable moments can really help them learn to use their time more wisely.
Of course, these parents never make things easy. You probably will find this shocking, but they have been known to try and do things themselves if I delay long enough. I’ll be looking at my shirt, contemplating the design or seeing which holes my head will fit through, and Mommy, in a fit on impatience, will try to put the shirt on me. Naturally I can’t allow this. Not only is it directly counter to the lesson I’m trying to teach, but the parents are hopelessly inept. I protest until Mommy backs down and takes some time to think about what she’s done.
I know many of you will say that I’m just wasting my energy, but the way I see it, even if it doesn’t work out with these parents it’ll be good training for the next ones.
I’ve been indulging a fantasy lately. What might the church look like today if it had managed to avoid so many of the missteps (as I see them) since that first Pentecost? What if, when people suggested placing powerful bishops in each city to ensure that heresy couldn’t spread, enough Christians had stood up to say that Jesus had taught that they were all brothers, and had one teacher, the Messiah1 ? What if they had pointed to the promise that, under the new covenant, God himself would put the law into their hearts and no one would need to teach another, because they would know God himself2 ?
What if, when Constantine had secured his empire and declared it to be Christian, the church hadn’t been so demoralized by Diocletian’s persecution that they leapt at a chance at legitimacy? Could they have welcomed Constantine with open arms, but told him that the role of King was already taken? What if they told him that within the church there is no slave or master, no Emperor or subject3 . What if they had said that while a man could repent and follow Jesus, an empire could not?
What if, when some suggested that the church split, either because of some disagreement or so that they could be with people like themselves, the church had said, as Paul did so forcefully in his time, that within the church there is no Jew or Greek4 ? What if they had clung to Jesus’s promise that their unity would be the attribute that set them apart from the world5 ?
I know each of these decisions would have been costly. I doubt I could have done better, and Jesus has shepherded his church through it all, but what if…