aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Tuning the spirit within

It's amazing how sharp the pitch of my guitar gets when I go a long time without tuning it to the piano. Now, when a guitar string slips out of tune, it naturally goes flat -- as heavy playing will tend to stretch it. So, you wouldn't think that you'd get that off just tuning it up in reference to the other strings. But the tendency to fiddle with it until it sounds "just right" means you keep raising the pitch of the instrument.

I hadn't tuned my guitar to the piano in several months -- not that I'd played it a lot, either. Anyway, I had to drop every string at least a whole step to match the piano's pitch. There's a lesson here. If you keep tuning the instrument to itself, it'll sound right, but get increasingly off-pitch. In the same way, if you keep tuning your beliefs or your sense of right and wrong to yourself and whatever is the consensus among people around you, you will get farther and farther off. We have to keep coming back to the Bible and the Creeds and the living tradition of the Church.

And this need to check yourself against the authoritative sources holds for clergy as well as laity, for the old as well as the young, for the teacher as well as the student. All of us, without an external source to check ourselves against, will tend to accommodate ourselves to whatever is current, is fashionable, or just prevents an argument. It sounds right to us. But it's not, it's off. "To the teaching and to the testimony!" as Isaiah said. Even though what is emerging seems righteous -- certainly it is approved by all the right people -- nevertheless, "Surely for this word they speak there is no dawn."

  • My goodness, has it been that long?

    This spring is the 50th anniversary of my high school graduation. (It’s also the 30th anniversary of my Ph.D. commencement.) The three most useful…

  • On preaching

    My first appointment as a student pastor was in 1976. With only a year of seminary under my belt, I was made the pastor of three churches. Every…

  • Another day banging nails

    I was at Menards when they opened at 6:00 a.m. this morning to buy 3/4 ton of lumber and schlep it out to Wilderstead. While I was stacking 2x10s in…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.