I applaud churches who are breaking out of their shells and affecting change in the world. May their numbers increase!
But I predict someone is going to raise the objection that it was the tortoise that won the race. But that’s a different analogy. That’s about patiently heading towards a desired goal. The tortoise wants to get there.
This is something else. This analogy is about resisting movement towards justice and equality for all. The church doesn’t want to get there.
The fact that the church has been around for two millennia might not be a testimony to its long-suffering patience. It could be a testimony to its ability to slyly avoid its own destruction by protecting itself.
The turtle’s number one defense is to retreat within its shell until trouble passes. This reminds me of the way the church deals with critical issues today such as women’s rights, racism, sexual abuse, sexuality and gender, same-sex marriage, corruption among its leaders, and so on. Rather than confront these issues head on, the usual response is, “Be patient. Let’s take this slowly. No need to rush into it. Leave it with us and we’ll look into it.”
It reminds me of the U.S. military wanting to retain the right to prosecute its own sexual assault cases rather than turn them over to civilian courts. We know how that’s going to turn out. Hardly any go to prosecution now and hardly any will in the future.
But, unlike this cartoon, the church is never fined for going too slow or taking too long dealing with abuses, inequalities and injustices within it’s own ranks or in the world. It just continues plodding along.
You know the drill.