Here’s another excerpt from the book I’m re-reading, Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The previous excerpts can be found here: Creativity using the ‘Death-Cycle’. This excerpt is from page 94 (1976 Corgi edition)
But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.
This passage make me think about the ways I, as a nu-Christian or post-modern Christian, try to effect change in Big Church. It seems the way we (especially in the West) address issues is to band-aid the problem rather than addressing the cause. Think about it, we’d rather swallow a pill that suppresses our ability to think negatively (Prozac) than go through a process of healing and prayer. We’d rather put everyone through intrusive body-cavity searches before letting them go a plane than think about why our country is producing terrorists in the first place. This is all backwards.
But back to effecting change in Big Church – I’m not interested in interpolating our current (sometimes narrow) set of church-ways into an alt.worship set, I’m interested in finding out why we’re not naturally practising our own personal ways of worship in the first place. I’m not interested in coaxing contemporary Christians into attending our art-groups, I’m interested in what art they’re doing (or worse – NOT doing) at home and in their spare time. I could go on, but you get the idea.
I think this concept of addressing the root of the issue is practical and obvious, but at the same time daunting and difficult. Especially in the context of our comfy Western-Christianity today. Do we have the courage to address things the right way? Will we ever learn the right way to revolt?