I have a couple of choices of routes from my home to my office. One of them winds through beautiful countryside that quickly makes you forget you are within a few miles of a major metropolitan area. I find it calming and lovely.
While the seasons, harvests, and time of year change my views one thing remains: I drive by the king of septic tanks. It is a small farm enclosure, perhaps 150ft by 100ft. In the enclosure are three goats and a small, round concrete pad no more than 3ft across and topped with a metal cover. It is the septic system access point. It rises less than a foot above the ground but one goat – always the same goat – stands on it each day as I pass, surveying his kingdom.
He is the top goat. He is king of that enclosure. The other two are never allowed on his septic tank cover. He is king of the septic tank. And he is proud of it. He has no idea that the world doesn’t view him as a king. His little group knows he is top goat and that’s all that matters. He most likely thinks his little group IS the world and that the entire world – certainly his entire world – looks up to him.
And that brings me to my subject.
There are times I get “Christian” periodicals that spend the bulk of their time 1) attacking those who disagree with them and their views, 2) displaying their expert knowledge in matters of little importance or 3) reminding those in their world, their enclosure, to keep together and keep looking at them. And every single time I get those publications or emails I think of that goat standing on his septic tank cover, a legend in his own mind.
More often than I’d like, I get long articles sent to me going into great, tedious, and minute detail about matters that were long ago discredited. One example is the KJV-Only crowd who can – you must give them this – really produce some verbiage and aren’t afraid to share it. It is as if they never heard of Tischendorf’s discovery of the Sinaitic manuscripts and how other earlier manuscripts have been found, requiring us to update and correct our received text. Their position is a sad one: they are experts in something that doesn’t exist or which has long been discarded (not the KJV – we haven’t discarded it. We have just understood its place in a long line of translations). Most Christian periodicals fit into that same slot: experts holding forth on things which others have long raised serious objections to, at least, or discredited at worst. They spin out old arguments that have failed time after time as 70% of their youth leave their church and the world spins into darkness.
They are kings over the septic tank. I have no illusions about my own history or present: there is no doubt I’ve done the same thing from time to time. There is no doubt that I’ve heard the praise or a few here or there and assumed the tide was turning and that I was THE guy who was right. Arrogance and stupidity? I’m not immune.
So I choose to take the route to work a few times a week that goes by that simple farm enclosure to remind myself: don’t climb on the septic tank and proclaim yourself king.