An allergy to thought, an allergy to complexity, nuance...I heard this phrase, these words, from the lips of John Sexton, president of New York University. He was lamenting this collapse, this developing pattern in our country, a country Sexton dearly loves.
Put the cookies on the bottom shelf…I heard this phrase, these words, yet again this week in relation to the writing of books both traditionally bound and e-imprisoned. They have become almost a mantra in publishing books for believers, Christians, followers of Jesus, whatever the label of choice may be these days. I lament this, for the country of believers I dearly love.
I believe putting the cookies on the bottom shelf is dangerous for while accessible to anyone, the dogs’ll also sneak in and scarf the whole shebang ala the Bumpus hounds in A Christmas Story. However, putting the cookies on the top shelf, entirely out of reach to most, seems the opposite but equal error. It fosters prideful bakers who can’t stand their hillbilly neighbors.
What if our mantra became reach and stretch before take and eat? We want our children to grow, learn, be challenged, but for some reason we grow up and put away those childish notions of needing to become more, see farther, think deeper. Even that New Testament madman Paul longed for folks to wean off the milk for Christ's sake.
Who is to blame here? We could spend all day trying to pin that tail on some donkey, but I’ve never been a fan of that game for it assumes there’s only one donkey in the room and we all know that’s horsefeathers. No, I would rather plead with the saviors of our possible future: the artists - those to whom much has been given, those from whom much is needed, now maybe more than ever. Yes, the poets and singers and dreamers and filmmakers and schoolteachers and dancers and preachers and writers and homeschooling moms and cantankerous uncles and coaches and bloggers and publishers. My plea? Place the piping hot cookies within reach; not locked in ivory towers or pitched to the lowest bidder, but rather gingerly placed on the cooling rack of the glorious middle, that realm where Emerson said all true greatness comes from.
I don't know what to do with all these thoughts...I realize I'm a part of the problem as much as I might hope to be a sliver of the solution. But I see this allergy to thought, this sloth. Pastor John Buchanan contends that sloth means "not living up to the full potential of our humanity, playing it safe, investing nothing..."