I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am a reactionary. Not a revolutionary, but a reactionary. The on-line dictionary says that reactionary is “of, pertaining to, marked by, or favoring reaction esp. extreme conservatism or rightism in politics; opposing political or social change.” Now not all of that definition pertains to me but, if I could modify a portion of it, rightism in matters of the faithis what compels me to reaction. That does NOT mean I am right or intend to be right. It does mean that my desire is for right thinking. Thinking rightly about faith, scripture and the interpretation of scripture. Again, that does not mean my interpretation is right, simply that good, serious, dialogue about matters of the faith are essential to growing in the faith and I react when that is ignored or skirted in any environment were there is a pretension to call something Bible Study that is barely recognizable as study.
It probably goes without saying that people do not respond well to reactionaries. We tend to rock the boat of mediocrity and the dispensing of pablum when it comes to the things of faith. Often we do so simply and purely to get a rise out of people and push them to think beyond the scripted notions they may have adopted simply because someone, somewhere, from a puplit said something was true.
Now I must be careful here so that I’m not misunderstood and seen as making any kind of comparison whatsoever for that is not my intent. But wasn’t Abraham a reactionary? And what about Elijah or Elisha, Daniel, and Micah. Dare I mention John the Baptist or Jesus, John or Paul…weren’t they all reactionaries? None of them seemed surprised that people did not respond well to their message. They were not concerned about being liked. They did not spend sleepless nights wondering if someone would be upset by what they said or even the way they said it. They all learned, in some manner, to shake the dust off their feet and move on if people were unreceptive or ridiculed their message.
Perhaps political correctness has crept into the church to such an extent that tolerance of different, even very different views are no longer tolerated. Heaven forbid if people get upset or feel challenged in their shallow beliefs. It is more important for some reason to finish a scripted lesson instead of exploring the free exchange of ideas. After all, most people have studied and want to know what the leader has to say about the material. Right!!!! When was the last time you ever attended a Sunday School class were more than a minority of the people actually studied the lesson ahead of time. Some may have read it the night before but study… I find that highly doubtful. They want some one to feed them the Word, not read the Word for themselves.
Do I enjoy being a reactionary? Not always. However I will confess that there is exhilaration in depositing ideas that force others to “react” or think about what they say or the ramifications of certain beliefs. I find some joy in pushing the edge of the envelope of faith. Letting the Word challenge me and finding courage to tackle the tough questions really is exciting.