Changing course

An update from Rich Dixon


I’ve struggled during my life with decision-making, frequently changing my mind about when and how to change my mind.

I’ve changed course a lot, often in self-destructive directions. I used to base decisions entirely on current circumstances. When you shift with every new wind direction, you end up crashing into cliffs.

Then, for a while, I decided life was about arbitrary consistency and following rules, but that doesn’t work either. A rule is always man-made and situational. That’s okay for a while, but circumstances change. Rules that once made sense may no longer apply, but we tend to get attached to old rules.

I knew there was a third way, a better way, but I couldn’t come up with a succinct explanation. This metaphor might help.

A plane takes off. A few minutes later in clear blue skies, the pilot turns off the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign. An hour or so into the flight, the pilot announces expected turbulence and turns on the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign.

Did the pilot flip-flop? Was his initial choice to turn off the sign hasty or premature? Once he made a choice, should he stick with it?

Both choices, OFF and ON, were of course rational and consistent. He observed the situation and made sound decisions based on changing data. So – how is this different from simply flip-flopping with every shifting breeze?

The pilot followed a simple, unchanging principle. His priority was passenger and crew safety.

Viewed through that lens, the captain stayed precisely on course. He made choices that kept people safe.

+ + +

Jesus taught simple, eternal principles. He excoriated those who burdened and tried to control others by turning His teaching into lists of hard-and-fast rules.

Love your neighbor. Serve the marginalized. Seek justice. Live humbly.

Jesus was never about power and control.

Rest for the weary.

Authentic freedom.

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