I don’t often open this sort of thing with a quotation but for this week, I am.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
Ralph Waldo Emerson*
The reason for putting that quotation in is that today’s sermons are about who we should be when we relate to other people. As I mention in at least one of the sermons, we tend to fall into one of two errors. First, we try to fit in with people to such an extent that we lose our essential selves, i.e. our values. Second, we refuse to modify our behaviour or language or anything so we can “remain true to ourselves.” I think churchy folk fall into the second error far more often, hence the Emerson quote.
It is a truism that we change how we are depending on whom we are with, no one treats toddlers, adults and pets all the same, but there are times when we try to elevate a foolish consistency to a level that is far beyond useful. St. Paul writes, ” I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22b NRSV) It seems peculiar for us to think that we, in our consistency, have a better handle on how to win people than Paul.
Knox Presbyterian Who should I be?
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Who should I be?
* Bartlett, John, comp. Familiar Quotations, 10th ed, rev. and enl. by Nathan Haskell Dole. Boston: Little, Brown, 1919; Bartleby.com, 2000. www.bartleby.com/100/. February 8, 2015.