Imagine going to the symphony. As you take your seat, you notice something very odd about the musicians. Every one of them is holding an oboe. Not another instrument is visible. After the audience is seated, the conductor walks onto the stage, to the applause of everyone in the room.
With the tap of the conductor’s bat-tan, the symphony begins. A single, harmonious note rises from every oboe. The sound fills the room. The note is pure; every instrument is producing an identical sound. A single note, filling the entire concert hall.
After several minutes, the audience becomes restless. The note has continued unchanged, following the direction of the conductor. Another five minutes pass and still the single, harmonious sound fills the room. People are stirring now, glancing at their watches; murmuring to one another. Forty-five minutes pass, as the same group of musicians continue to play their now monotonous note; unaware that they are alone in the room. The audience, bored and irritated, has gone home.
A symphony is made up of numerous instruments, each playing different segments and portions of the composition; each with its own unique tone and pitch. Every musician is playing his own part, each instrument competing with, and reinforcing, the other musicians on stage. All eyes are on the conductor, who intertwines a medley of unique sounds to create a cohesive whole. There is a place and time for every instrument, for every sound. The rhythmic flow of violins wrap around the harmonious harps and blaring insistent brass. All are carried along by the sharp percussions of the drums. In The 1812 Overture, piccolos and cannons work together, each at their appointed time, to carry the audience into ecstasy. The audience, fixed in their seats, do not leave until the last note ends.
Church life is like a symphony. Many leaders look for their congregations to be “of one mind.” Rather than seeking the mind of Christ, which is revealed in an attitude of humility and service, the conformity of doctrinal purity is mistaken for unity.
A single voice arises, and all others are hushed. A single message goes forth, captivating for a moment, but narrow, shallow and repetitive; an uninspiring serving of yesteryear’s revelations given to a select few.
While creativity, passion and diversity explodes in all of God’s creation, we can come to believe that in the Church, in the most important part of God’s creation, Yahweh prefers unanimity, blandness, conformity and predictability.
If church life is to be as spectacular as a summer thunderstorm, as engaging as a symphony and as powerful as a cyclone, then we must encourage each believer to share the unique revelation that God’s Spirit has given him. We must be fearless enough to taste and see that the flavor of the LORD in each believer is good, and is different than our own. By allowing others the freedom of thought we will only enhance the truths that God has revealed to us.