When I was a toddler, I was pigeon-toed, so I wore Orthopedic shoes. About five years ago, I developed strange pain in my knees. Was it tendinitis? Was it something else? What caused the condition? No one seemed to know, not even the doctors.
Before I explain how I finally cured the knee pain, I should tell you about my dramatic bug bite.
Yes, a mosquito bit me while I was asleep and my face blew up like a balloon. Albeit, mosquito bites shouldn’t do that. Taiwan’s mosquitoes tend to be a bit larger than most others—kind of like cockroaches in Texas. But I was on antibiotics at the time. I won’t say what kind or how much, because this article is not about medical advice. I want to point out something about assumptions and causes.
Actually, it happened twice. Both times, I just left it alone and the swelling vanished within three days.
The same thing happened to a friend. He went to a doctor, who even said he didn’t know what caused it, but somehow decided that swelling = infection, and sent him home with medication. The swelling grew, lasted three weeks, the doctor eventually performed surgery… and the doctor, still, never identified the cause.
To quote Walt Kelly, “Yep, son, we have met the enemy and he is us.”
I’m not a medical expert, nor feign a cure with my story. But, so I’ve been told, bug bites and infections are different. Antibiotics don’t cure everything. And, honesty demands that we know the cause of an ailment before suggesting treatment. Some problems are merely caused by bug bites and time is the cure.
Is it possible that the a preemptive prognosis turned a three day bug bite into a three-week drama that ended with surgery? I’ll leave that for the medical field to determine. All I know is that a friend listened to a doctor, who didn’t find out the cause of his condition, but diagnosed anyways, and his situation was seven times worse than mine.
And, we still don’t know the cause of my knee pain… at least the doctors don’t.
So, I took an Orthopedic approach and adjusted the angle of my toes when I walk, pointing them just a little more outward. Voila! ALL pain was gone for the first time since it began five years ago. Maybe knee pain could have an Orthopedic solution.
I think it’s fair to say that some parts of the medical community seem a bit obsessed with treating symptoms and a bit unconcerned with rooting-out causes. Is contemporary Churchianity much different?
I’ve watched pastors and Church leaders swing from smearing the prayer movement to joining it. I’ve listened to rants against Bill Hybels, only to watch the “ranters” join WCA a few years later. And, all the while, we’ve all watched the numbers on Barna.org continue their tailspin. Divorce climbs, Church attendance sinks, and there are more “ministry training” books and seminars than ever before.
Maybe the problems in the American Church weren’t caused by a shortage of books and ministry strategery conferences. Did we consider that the system itself could be the cause of the system’s problems? I know the system isn’t perfect, but I’m wondering, How imperfect does it need to be?
Thomas Jefferson said:
We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.
It’s time that the errors of the Church were free to be combated.
I keep saying it: The clerical system doesn’t exist in the Bible. The word “pastor” appears in some English translations of Ephesians 4:11, but Scripture never says that we must give all our attention, all our cooperation, and all our burdens to one person calledpastor. Yet, that’s exactly what we’ve done. Maybe, the solution to pastor-burnout is to downsize the position we can’t find in the Bible. And, maybe the problems of the American Church would be better taken care of if we gave them to Jesus directly, instead of finding more books and conferences to help professional clergy be Jesus for us.
Perhaps it’s time to stop taking advice from “professionals” who still don’t know what caused the symptoms—symptoms that seem to only get worse. God called pastors, just like apostles, prophets, and evangelists… to help Christians organically. If we get organic, the Body might heal itself.