I’ve read that Vince Lombardi began each season by teaching his players how to block, how to run, and how to fall. That’s the good side of “fundamentalism.”
However . . . .
She came to me in tears. Her sister and brother‑in‑law visited her, saw a New International Version of the Bible on her table, and attacked her, insisting she was in danger of going to hell unless she read only the King James Version, the only true Word of God. (This happened in the year 2011!)
She didn’t know how to handle the situation so that harmony might result.
The Tale Wagged
You may find this story comical or far out on the fringe. But such events are not uncommon, and are happening right under our noses (and not only when the Taliban shoot women through the head in a soccer stadium).
Fundamentalism turns sinister when, like an only child, it insists, “My way is the only way.” Moreover, the fundamentalist — whether Osama Ben Laden or Pat Robertson— always insists, “. . . and I’m doing this for your own good!”
Here’s the point: in many shadowy corners of my heart, I too am a fundamentalist, very serious about my way of doing things, grumpy (at best) if you won’t agree with me, quite uninterested in your view of the subject, closed. Opening those dark corners may be the most important action I can take in becoming spiritually healthier, a better dad, a better husband, a better worker or boss. (Can you hear my heavy sigh?)
I’m sure most fundamentalists are (or were once) motivated to help people who are adrift or confused. Sometimes, I hear a little voice in my heart saying, “Guys! I know the better —> best —> right way, guys!” Do you have that voice, too? Fundamentalists are terrorized by “too many choices,” and terror turns them into oppressors.
Yeah, but how do we put it into practice?
This week, go snooping in your subconscious for that stern self-righteous lawgiver who’s convinced his (your) way is the only way. Just see if you harbor any lust for certainty.
Ugly? Probably, but walk right past the blowhard, and open the window, and let the breeze of Other Ways refresh the air.
Exhale and rejoin a larger family.