Things I Have Learned From Flying Commercial
Robert Wurtz II
He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)
Of all the articles I have written, this is one where I am truly thinking out loud (musing in print). I have woke up many times over the years from dreams of flying in commercial planes. Perhaps it is because for most of my adult life I have had an aversion to flying. However, the more I have traveled, the more comfortable I have become. I still don’t like to fly, but things have greatly improved.
In this particular dream I had recently, I was so comfortable on board that I was actually lying in a bed asleep. I was at peace and rest. Then, suddenly, I realized that the plane was a new Boeing Dreamliner! Some of you will know the troubled short history of this latest aeronautic innovation. I say “innovation” because the plane is so unlike the planes that were made before it, with new materials introduced, new technologies employed, etc. It’s almost like they started all over again. I don’t know about you, but I would not fly on a Dreamliner today. If my itinerary listed that plane- I would have to call and cancel. Just saying.
For me, and for a lot of people, it takes a considerable amount of nerve to get into a multi-ton machine and fly across the ocean. In one sense, it is a step of faith. Not just in the plane or the pilots- but in God. You might be asking about now, what about the Dreamliner? Could you not trust God to keep you in that plane? My mind cross references to Paul’s words, “Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt… not just to the ship… but also to our lives.” Why? Because too many innovations have been introduced at once so as to break continuity with the dependable and reasonably “safe” aircraft that went before it. It’s like they reached the ability to produce a plane that was almost bullet proof (such as the 737) and then they have to go and “innovate.” Amazing. Coolness obviously became a priority over faithfulness.
As the people of God, I think of us as an assembly “in flight.” I believe we need to be mounted up with wings as eagles. We need the wind of the Spirit under our wings. This is how I think of a local assembly. But what happens when so many innovations have been introduced into the churches that there is no longer continuity with the past? The Dreamliner, for many people is a nightmare. Likewise, how can we have peace of mind and a sense of security when things are constantly in a state of change within the churches? New methods of evangelism, new emphasis in preaching, new standards of living, New, new, new, everything until we are in a “Dreamliner” state. For example, we can’t even learn the lyrics to a song (much less take possession of it in our hearts) before something new is introduced and the old discarded. It is brand new plane with all new technologies.
I cringe every time I see another news report of a battery on board that nearly melted a massive hole in the plane (or something like that). Another grounded flight- another abandoned take-off. In a strange way I fear this has become our state within many circles of Christianity. There have been so many changes made in so many key areas that we struggle to even get off the ground, much less establish a track record for dependability and faithfulness (to the Kingdom of God). I don’t know. I guess it’s just how my mind works these days. Have we exchanged tried and proven principals for an age of “dreaming” of new ways to do things? It’s not working too well for Boeing at this point. How is it working for us?