Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Problem With Exceptions

You have to respect the enterprising, even entrepreneurial spirit of some in the church these days. They are bastions of innovation, sources of inspiration, and typically covered in perspiration. They have a clearly missionary mindset, and are willing to do what it takes to fulfill the mission and purpose of the local church.

unfortunately they don't like rules. Oh, now of course they won;t say that, but really their love for rules runs dry almost as soon as the rules start to "cramp their style". That's when you get talk of the need to deal with exceptions and make allowances for unique circumstances.

Well, you know what? I am totally up for that discussion. I am totally game for thinking in terms of "normalizing" instead of "normative." I just wish that people would play fair when they play that game.

When you talk about making things normal instead of normative, you are dealing with the nuance that distinguishes a prescriptive rule from a descriptive precedent. Again, I will say I am fine with this. It takes longer, and it deals more in the gray areas, but we are under grace, not law, and that's fine. But some folks just don't play fair.

That's twice I've said that. I had better explain. When I say that some don't play fair, I mean they use the fact that things are not really rules to not follow the descriptions of what is normal, and they do it without decent justification. Saying that you don't have to do something because it is only a normal process doesn't mean you are not accountable; you still have to explain why you don't want to go through the normal process. You can't just ignore the normal process and call it an exception after the fact. There has t be accountability there.

I don't know that everyone gets that.

I know that they don't get it for all the right reasons. It is the very things that make them so good at being innovators in the church.

What's funny is that I tend to think of myself as something of an innovator. I guess I have found my limit.

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