Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Mile Wide and a Mile Deep

“He’s so narrow in thought that when he turns toward the sun, he doesn’t cast a shadow. But his friend is so open-minded, his brains fell out.”

I heard this years ago and continue to chuckle about it.

Having recently visited a church’s website, I wrote: “religion, a mile wide and an inch deep” … and, then, while reading Calvin, noted, “a mile deep, for sure.”

And then wondered, “Is it possible to be a mile wide and a mile deep, too.”

To be a mile wide in love, as God so loves the world, and to be a mile deep in knowing the Bible and Christian doctrine.

Presbyterians have a decent track record on this point, though we’re often tempted to knock off one for the other – love a mile wide and knowledge an inch deep, or knowledge and doctrine a mile deep and love an inch wide.

When I survey the world, I’m glad to be a Presbyterian. We’re not the only voice, obviously, nor do we have an impeccable reputation, but on the whole, we’ve held up our end of the bargain rather well ever since Calvin proclaimed the grace of God in Geneva and John Knox brought Calvin’s vision to Scotland, from whence came our Presbyterian spiritual mothers and fathers.

If our tradition has any merit, and I believe it does, it’s the holding together of both vectors – love a mile wide and knowledge a mile deep.

Dear Presbyterians, and those who may be wondering what a Presbyterian is, we are those who love God and neighbor with the passion and compassion of Christ, and who burn the midnight oil in our studies!

I’m glad to be a Presbyterian! A faith-tradition of heart and mind, service and study, a vigorous and a rigorous life, a mile wide and a mile deep.