Stagnation is Cool… Then It Stinks

by Gene Breitenbach

As a kid I loved exploration, poking and prodding the things that made up the life around me. One of my favorite activities was capturing and watching, bits and pieces of my environment. I had cans and bottles and jugs filled with a bit of the stream that ran through our backyard or of a lake or filled with random ingredients. I’d watch them to see what would become of these samples.

There were glorious surprises. A can with a bit of peach juice in the bottom would grow luxurious strands of grey mold. Swamp water would grow swarms of single-celled animals large enough to see with the naked eyes. Strange, wiggling life forms would begin to emerge from algae-choked jars of water.
It was great for a couple of days, but then the inevitable happened. Decay set in. The stench of death dimmed my fascination. The wiggly things turned out to be mosquito larvae, and I didn’t want to be around when they morphed into winged predators with a taste for my blood.

Stagnation has a limited appeal, and what was true for my early nature experiments is true for faith. I have a goal. It has actually sparked concern and alarm among traditionalists at times. I want my view of the world and of God to go through some radical change every two years or so. If not, I feel nervous.

Why? Because I don’t want to stagnate. I’m not looking for some new and radical truth that no one else has ever been able to figure out. Originality is not my goal. I’m looking for understanding that is new to me. God is so big, his wisdom so vast, his understanding so far beyond me that I never want to be content with what I already know…


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