“Consistency is the pursuit of a fool.”
I still remember the moment I heard these words. I was sitting in the hallway of my college dorm. A group of friends and I were talking about the qualities of a Christian leader. The importance of consistency had come up. A professor who had decided to hang out with us was quietly eating a slice of pizza. Out of nowhere he declares that consistency isn’t all that important.
As a young college student my first reaction wasn’t all that polite. I couldn’t imagine a leader, particularly a Christian leader, who wasn’t consistent. Without consistency chaos would rule the day. I imagined a leader who didn’t have a well-thought-out, consistent understanding of God, morality, and lived life.
Over time I have come to understand that consistency is too often a polite code word for things like rigidity, callousness, and insensitivity. When I am consistent I don’t have to spend much time thinking about the complexity of humanity. Ever since that evening I have been working towards freeing myself from the need to be consistent.
As I have embraced this, a freedom has grown in my heart and soul. This has been helpful as a Christian and the secret to surviving as a Pastor. I don’t have to be either conservative or liberal. I get to enjoy and critique both. My worship preferences range from classical hymns to modern hip-hop. I like church services that are decent and in order and I find joy worshipping with folks who just want to see where the Spirit leads. All of this has taught me to hold on to things lightly and be open to the possibility that my perspective isn’t the only one. More than this, holding loosely allows me the freedom to own when I am wrong and more easily move beyond my failure.
Moving beyond my need for consistency allows me to be in relationship with all kinds of different people. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots moments where I am alarmed by what I encounter. Even in those moments there is something important about giving witness to ideas and situations I do not agree with.