Imagine that one afternoon you take the walk out to the mail box and inside is a package wrapped in brown paper. On further examination it has no return address and the label is written by hand. It is ticking.
A casual estimate would be that 99% of people would have a reaction, and that reaction would be decidedly negative. Why negative? Have you ever had a box come in the mail that ticked? The only thing that most people would base their reaction on are movies and television shows. Perhaps a news feature or an article may influence the impulse, but much of the reaction is from fiction.
What else could be ticking? It may be a clock or some sort of mechanical device. What are the odds that it would actually be a bomb? The post office is on the look for these items and they are not likely to get to your home. Does someone want to kill you? Most people who are murdered are victims of people they know and the methods are more immediate rather than calculated.
Wait, hold the phone…
What Am I Saying?
There is something very wrong with this logic. What I have intentionally done is demonstrate how potentially misleading logic can be. The problem with this scenario is that the severity of the situation has not been taken into account at all. Suppose it was a clock, would it not be better to assume that it was in fact a bomb? Is it an issue that much of the information about ticking packages has come from movies and television when you consider that only one incidence that could result in the loss of life requires more caution?
The best thing to do is to not disturb the package, call the police, and leave the scene. It may be unlikely that there is anything wrong, but if there is, the consequences are so severe that no other choice can be made.
If the Package is Ticking…
…RUN! Don’t go back for your good china. Don’t see what coupons are in the accompanying flyer. Abandon your possessions for something more valuable: your life.
In matters of faith, the consequences are even more severe. This is not about some minor points that you may hold in disagreement, but if you hear the distinct sound of ticking it is already time to run. The difficulty is that in matters of Christian faith, it may be difficult to hear the ticking. The only way you are able to is to be grounded in the tenets of Christian doctrine. What are vital to the Christian faith? What would, if they were removed, make a person’s belief so different that it can no longer be called Christianity?
Some have said, “But if you can’t be sure, then can you really make that judgment?” That is a good point. The package could contain a clock, after all they do sound much the same.
The question is whether or not it is worth the risk. Why follow a pastor or attend a church which has raised serious controversy about basic Christian beliefs? Why continue to ascribe to church leaders who raise such strong controversy among other Christian leaders? After all, there are hundreds of other churches, pastors, and Christian leaders who are grounded in the Bible, who overtly and confidently affirm the basic teachings of Christianity.
It may come down to holding onto it as if it were a clock, yet being willing to accept the damage of the blast if it is a bomb. However, it may be abandoning so much that is good to spare the risk of the destruction of yourself and those for whom you care so much. Is it worth the risk?