Saturday, August 12, 2006

Teaching the Why

No, I didn't mean "The Who." How many times have you heard people say "I don't know why I do this this way..?" There is a mayor of a small town (I am not sure where the internet article is that I read this) that has stopped mowing his lawn. His reasoning "Why do we do it?" This led to a deeper thought that this touches on while I was doing my own mowing today.

The answer for mowing your lawn goes back to the late 1800's and early 1900's. It was quite fashionable to have a lawn of tall grasses. That is until they discovered that the insects (i.e. mosquitos, gnats, etc) and pests (cockroaches, rats, mice) that carry disease all love tall grasses. It didn't take long to connect that with plagues and the spread of disease, and those lawns weren't so fashionable if you ended up with a contagious disease (even the flu was deadly then). So the push mower was born, and the rest was history. Now why is this on a Lutheran blog site? Well, since people no longer know WHY you mow your lawn, they think it's purely ornamental. So you either get 1) no lawn mowing or 2) inane and anal mowing restrictions (such as your lawn must not exceed 2.1756380 inches in height.. (ok so thats a little extreme in measurement, but you get the idea). Alright, here is the tie in.

How many times have you heard "We don't need such an old tradition/method/etc for..." and you can fill in the blank with whatever is the topic du jour: abortion, gay marraige, contemporary worship, Lord's Supper, etc. They aren't taught the "why," and so are left to make it up. This is evident in everyday life when anyone teaches another person any task, method, or morality. They remember to teach the mechanations, the rules, and the expected outcomes. But hardly do they teach the "why." "Why don't you play with guns?" You/others get shot and die. "Why don't you drive drunk?" You and/or other people will get badly hurt and/or die. "Why don't we marry gays?" (Do I really need to spell this one out?) "Why do I have to...?" Every parent and Pastor has to keep this in mind when they teach their children/flock. First you explain the rules, and then the why. (I try and do this with my children regarding ledges and other dangerous/important details.) God has done this throughout the Bible, and provided not only the why, but the who, what, when, where, and how. If only human teachers were so effective.

Next time you hear someone asking "why" (or one of the many variations that mean the same thing), provide the "why." "Why don't we sing newer more upbeat songs?" Because they aren't founded on the Word, they are not beneficial to the congregation, and "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" will continue to be sung to the end of time- this pop-rock song won't make it till next week! Provide a why, and the questions usually end. Provide the why, and cause the doubt to wither instead of the faith.


William Weedon said...

Good thoughts! Thanks for blogging them. And I have to tell you what a delight it is to read a confessional Lutheran's writings from Fredericksburg. My family's from Richardsville - and all Methodist. I hope you keep up the blogging!

William Weedon said...

P.S. Cleaving the darkness - great title. The Franzmann hymn in mind? "Thy Strong Word Did Cleave the Darkness"? That's one of my favorites! I suspect it will be around with A Mighty Fortress until the End of the Beginnig.

VirginiaLutherans said...

Welcome! I think at some point the hymn made a subconscious rise to help create the name. I love the song as well, but it wasn't something in my mind when I made the title (not directly anyway). I was thinking that I am "cleaving" the insanity and apostasy, and since those are referred to as "dark"... about a Sunday or two after the "rename," we sang "Thy strong word", and I thought "How appropriate..."

I will keep it up as I find time. There aren't any confessional Lutheran Churches out here, and I am hoping to change that. However God's Providence in this matter is quite necessary. If you know of people looking, let me know.

I am glad I can put something useful out. I am hoping to add at least part of the blogroll from Aardvark to the list so others can keep the same links no matter which site they start on. But that is always prone to finding the time to alter the HTML. ;-) Hope to see you around- and glad to see another Confessional out there. There aren't enough, but that's bound to change.

Whey Lay said...

Yes, teaching the "why" of the liturgy and hymnal would be benificial to both new members and older ones who think they know an answer. Church history and worship practices would also ground people and give them a contectedness with the pass. These things would probably be hard to do at a traditional church, impossible at a LCMS church that is trying to mimic the local "Free Christian Church", but I digress. Good posts and God's Blessings in finding / founding a Lutheran church. Maybe contacting the District would help. They may have names of others in the area.