So my son is ten right now. I am going to be coaching his little league baseball team. That means i will be teaching a lot of little kids the fundamentals of baseball. I always tell my son “practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect”. As he begins his journey through different sports or any discipline for that matter he will learn how important correct practice is. He will learn to value the fundamentals. I say all of that to say this. I’m not preparing my son FOR the fundamentals i’m preparing my son WITH the fundamentals. I’m preparing Jackson for the unscripted play of a baseball game by teaching him that a religious repetition of some key fundamentals of the game will help bring some order to the chaos.
In our churches we can have a tendency to become in grown and infected with fundamentalism when we find ourselves preparing one another for the fundamentals rather than with the fundamentals. The Christian life is not a paint by numbers club. It is played out on a real, unpredictable and unscripted field of play. The only thing we can control is how we learn to respond to the scary unknown of whats coming at us. We must learn the fundamentals in order to make sense of our duty and calling. As humanBEINGS we must learn the fundamentals to BE right at the right time not just to DO right. But when we get together in our little holy huddles enjoying our own conversation and strategies more than we do actually using them on the field of play we run the risk of becoming a people of answers with no legitimate questions a people completely independent from a reality outside of ourselves. Thus fundamentalism is coming to a knowledge of the truth without ever having to embody it in any real way. When its the bottom of the ninth and you need two outs to win you will be glad you know the correct way to turn a double play because you learned the fundamentals. Turning a double play is only a means to an end. Fundamentalism makes the whole point of the game practice. It makes a religion out of the means but never really delivers in the end.