I wish I was smarter, I really do. I would love to have the capacity to figure out the major problems of the world and fix what's wrong. I would relish being able to step into arguments between opposing sides and say, "here's the solution!" But I'm not that smart.
Without taking any sides, I would like to make an observation about the disagreements currently going on in our denomination. And I'd like to voice a fear of mine concerning the impact of those disagreements on the future of the denomination and the ability of all of us to spread the Good News.
Did you ever read the Dr. Seuss story, "The Zax"? I read that story to my kids countless times when they were little. It's about a North-Going Zax and and South-Going Zax who meet face to face in the prairie of Prax. Even though they are in a completely barren place with no barriers on either side, neither one of them will step aside to let the other continue on his journey. The North-Going Zax will only go North, and the South-Going Zax will only go South. Stepping to the East or the West is not an option for either of them.
A very vociferous argument ensues, but neither Zax will budge. Finally the South-Going Zax yells, "'I'll stay here not budging! I can and I will, if it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!'" You can guess what happened next. On the next page is a picture of an entire city and freeway system surrounding the two Zax standing face to face. The people driving by are completely ignoring the motionless creatures. The story ends, "In a couple of years, the new highway came through, and they build it right over those two stubborn Zax, and left them there, standing un-budged in their tracks."
My fear is that we are, or are becoming, those Zax, with non-believers in the culture whizzing by us. They're moving on. We're irrelevant. In Dr. Seuss' picture, there's no off-ramp to visit the Zax. The freeway goes around them and a bypass is built right over the top of them. The people are driving right by our churches, never coming in. Maybe, like in the picture, there's no off-ramp. We're not providing one, and the culture didn't see a need to build one.
If we are turned toward one another in debate, we are not turned toward the rest of the world. We are only interacting with one another, and not with the world. We cannot share the Good News of Jesus with others. The rest of the world will figure out how to move on with out us, and we'll be left behind like the Zax.