In my attempt to get into the spirit of things, I joined the local flying club along with a few friends. The club was located in a suburb called Lilydale and the name of the club was Lilydale Model Association. At my first meeting the members argued passionately whether Lilydale had one L or two L’s (Lilydale/Lillydale). It was soon clear to me the discussion had been ongoing for months. Listening to weather worn men argue fervently over a seemingly unimportant issue was humorous, but also revealing
I remember walking away from the club bemused at how odd we humans are. No matter what the environment, there will always be a differing of opinion amongst a group of people that share a collective passion for something. Many of us are wired up to be investigative and conclusive, and the inquisitive spirit is common to us all. But being conclusive can also be divisive. I know living in the grey is good for my psyche but intuitively I want conclusive – black and white. Given the right subject matter I find it hard to resist the ‘one L or two L’ type conversations. I wish I was a bronzed carefree beach bum that doesn’t give a crap, but I am not. I want to know if Lilydale has two L’s or not for goodness sake! I STILL don’t know!
Sometimes when my wife and I have a barney (‘argument’ for the non Australian readers), the intensity can bring a cloud of confusion and we’ll forget what it was we were originally arguing about. So we continue quarrelling until a pregnant pause gives room for a breath of sanity. In the vacuum of silence one of us lets our guard down with a twinkle in the eye, and laughter defuses whatever the hell it was sending us to the edge.
My wife and I still disagree over many things (one day she’ll see my way!) but when we allow the intensity to be moderated by love, it neutralises the quest for the ‘I’m right’ trophy. I wonder if the church would be seen differently if we stopped focusing on whether life has one or two L’s in it? What would it look like if we let a twinkle in the eye, a pregnant pause and laughter moderate the public conversation?
Most people looking for a universal love aren’t concerned with one L or two L’s. Many of my friends who don’t practise a Christian faith are drawn to the unexplained and find mystery quite attractive. Those same friends find some Christians prescriptive, opinionated and strangely contradictory. Unfortunately I think the church has taken the mystery out of God by over explaining everything, even at the expense of using the loosest thread. The ‘I don’t know’ muscle barely gets a work out these days.
I know the idea to keep it simple and mysterious is an intensely idealistic view, I can hear the groans through the digital domain right now! But….Jesus seemed to keep his message pretty simple. It seems He rarely engaged in ‘one L or two L’ discussions, if anything, He frequently challenged the clergy of the day and the complexity they presided over.
Do your community a favour and avoid the one L or two L conversations. Set yourself up for the joy of surprise by living in the mystery.