Wandering the savage garden…

Don’t Observe: Participate.

I struggle with passivity.

I’m a classic INTJ, in terms of Myers-Briggs typology, which usually means that I watch and plan until I’m needed. As an example, I might notice the dishes need washing, but there are four other people in my home, all of whom are capable of doing the dishes; I’ll watch the dishes go undone until I decide that nobody else will do them. Then they’ll get washed. (I have to confess: I don’t like washing dishes, but I absolutely despise drying them, and have to force myself to dry them.)

Even though this is a fairly core aspect of my personality, I find that I don’t like it at all. I heard from my church’s women’s minister that she doesn’t like “New Year’s Resolutions,” she prefers an adjustment of priorities – which makes a lot of sense to me – and if I had one this year, it would be a priority on action rather than on observation.

That means that if the dishes are dirty, do them. No pile-up of dishes, ever. If I’m there, they’re done, no matter who else might do them; if someone else won’t pick up the mantle, I will.

On Facebook this morning, I saw a friend post a link to this, with the comment that the moron on Christ’s side didn’t know his theology well enough to defend it:

It’s funny, but it got me thinking.

For one thing, the Christian in the image apparently did not know his theology well enough to understand the actual machinery of God – which is indeed something of which we are all a part.

For another, I’m not sure my friend knew the theology himself – he pointed out that “God helps those who help themselves,” which isn’t actually a biblical statement at all. He went hunting through Paul and the Beatitudes looking for some equivalent.

For a third thing, it got me wondering about the nature of passivity. The most offensive thing – if offense is the right term to use – about the exchange was that my friend was fairly passive about the link in the first place. “Ha, ha,” he said, indicating the humor… and that was it.

I found myself infuriated. Not at the ignorance; that’s just this thing, you know? It’s a state of being. It happens.

What infuriated me was the passivity on everyone’s part. An assertion is being made, someone knows it’s ridiculous, but lets it lie.

Nope.

What I would have liked to have seen is for someone to listen to the voice of God in their head, saying “This isn’t correct,” and then that someone acts on it… by trying to gently correct the ignorance in God’s Name.

I know that I struggle with the “gently” aspect there; I’m far more likely to go in with a bat, breaking things in the name of accuracy, which isn’t really any better than letting ignorance lie for most cases, so I have to be really careful not to cause harm in the interest of trying to advance God’s cause.

(“No, you idiot!” is not a good leading statement.)

But at the same time, I have to find ways to share learning and knowledge in such a way that everyone grows and no-one is harmed… because being passive is harmful. Observation is the beginning of action, but observation without following through is wrong.

Shalom.

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