It was one of the more memorable fun flicks from the ’80s. Wayne Szalinski (played by Rick Moranis) was the mad scientist working on an incredible shrinking ray. Sadly, he only managed to blow things up, until the day his invention worked, accidentally shrinking two of his own children and two of the neighbor’s. The rest of “Honey, I shrunk the kids” revolves around the hapless teens’ attempts to avoid dangers lurking in the lawn while their parents search frantically for their diminutive offspring.
Herein lies a cautionary tale: We can shrink things unintentionally that were never intended to be shrunk.
Take the Bible, for instance. Sometimes I wonder whether we’ve reduced both its size and its function.
Philosopher Blaise Pascal once said that “man is only a reed, but at least he is a thinking reed.” Likewise, on the great tree of Christianity, the Church of the Nazarene is only a leaf, but we are a colorful leaf. Our emphasis upon holiness of heart and life, evidence of God’s transforming grace radically at work in us, helps us bring color to the branches of the Christian tree.
Sometimes as Nazarenes we get caught up on what makes us different from other Christians, on being the colorful leaf. We can forget that leaves are part of trees. The Church of the Nazarene shares much in common with Christians of other traditions, particularly those that bear the name “Protestant.” One common element is the emphasis we put upon the Bible as the benchmark for what we believe, how we “do church,” how we hear the Spirit’s voice and how we decide questions of ethics and morality. In theology talk, we accept the Bible as our “rule of faith and practice.” [See discussion in Randy Maddox, “The Rule of Christian Faith, Practice, and Hope,” in Richard P. Thompson and Thomas J. Oord, eds., The Bible Tells Me So: Reading the Bible as Scripture, Kindle edition (Nampa, Idaho: SacraSage Press, 2011), location 2098].