Friday, July 20, 2012

Rotten to the Core: Five Steps

This was the view from our carport deck last week. Our neighbours -- and our youngest daughter, who was playing with their daughter at the time -- were literally five steps away from disaster.

When they pulled into their driveway and opened the car doors, they heard the tree making loud creaking sounds. Fortunately, our neighbour wisely ordered the girls to quickly move towards the house.

Five quick, running steps, and the tree collapsed, crashing down where they had all been standing just seconds before. Thankfully, no-one was hurt. My daughter later remarked on how loud the creaking had been, and that they were just staring at the tree, mesmerized, until our neighbour told them to run.

The tree had looked perfectly healthy just the day before. Wide branches, lots of leaves, casting a wonderful amount of shade from the hot summer sun. There were no high winds, no heavy storms. Just a typical summer's day, until the tree suddenly split and half of it came crashing down.

The next day, from the same vantage point, I watch in fascination as city workers came and, with surgical precision, carved the tree apart and disposed of it. Just a couple of hours later, only a stump -- barely visible above ground -- remained.

Now, you know me: I tend to see metaphors in things around me. (From time to time.)

Metaphors that sometimes express themselves as questions.

And the tree next door got me thinking, as I watched it being systematically carved into smaller chunks and taken away, so that only a stump remains to give testimony to what had once been a mighty tree.

The tree appeared healthy. It had all the usual signs of life. Yet a rot had spread deep within; a deadly weakening that ultimately resulted in its collapse and disappearance.

Metaphorically speaking, how much "rot" can exist within our theological beliefs before the whole tree comes crashing down? Which doctrines/teachings are simply a matter of differing opinions, and which ones either give life or produce rot?

Just wondering.

1 comment: