What I Believe About Doors

 Photo: Jefferson Public Radio

Photo: Jefferson Public Radio

This past weekend, a friend and I went to two different art exhibitions that we hit up in succession.

The first, a kind of stream of consciousness, acid trip, color-drenched, maximalist presentation of (in my opinion) carefully placed junk. It wasn't my thing, but my friend really wanted to go, so I obliged, knowing that our second stop would be at a museum of contemporary art (much more my style).

While we were exploring both of the galleries, I noticed that there were a lot of closed doors at each one, none of them indicating whether or not another part of the exhibition lay inside. 

At the first venue, nearly every door was locked, but in contrast, when we got to the second gallery, it just so happened that most of the good stuff was hidden behind closed doors.

Some think of closed doors as a kind of "hint" that what's behind them is forbidden. I've never subscribed to that way of thinking. My belief about doors is simple. If a door is closed, I always check the knob to see if it's unlocked. If it is, I open it. 

Mind you, this way of behaving in the world doesn't always work out. I've had more than a few experiences where the door should have been locked but wasn't, only to witness something alarming inside. But on the whole, I've found that going through unlocked doors often leads to new discoveries.

As we were leaving the second venue, I had a passage from (speaking of acid-trip-creations) The Book Of Revelation flash through my mind:

These are the words of The One who holds many keys. He opens doors that no one can shut, and what he locks, no one can open.
— Revelation 3:7

This got me thinking about my life as we headed home from the second gallery.

I started thinking back over my choices, wondering where I would be had I employed this way of thinking more often in my spiritual life. What if I'd have just walked through every door in my life that was unlocked? Would I have discovered more along the way? What if, instead of asking God to open doors for me in my life, I asked God to lock them instead?

A professor of mine used to say, "God never tells you what to do, only what not to do."

I didn't understand it at the time as a student, but as a teacher, I'm starting to get a glimpse of it now. 

It's easy to never make any moves until we're sure of all the variables. But maybe the better way to live is to walk through every unlocked door, and to be thankful when we find a door that's locked.

After all, the lock could be saving us from something.

Selah.

 


 
 Ryan Phipps is the Senior Minister at Church In Bethesda.  Raised in the church, becoming a pastor was the one thing Ryan vowed he would never do. After spending many years away from faith, he found that for all of its flaws, the church can still occupy a unique place of good in the world if it is willing to evolve with reason and empathy.  Ryan has a special place in his heart for those who have been damaged or disillusioned by the church, and longs to lead those within it toward a more just and generous expression of itself.  Ryan is an  INTJ  on the MBTI and a  5w4  on the Enneagram

Ryan Phipps is the Senior Minister at Church In Bethesda.

Raised in the church, becoming a pastor was the one thing Ryan vowed he would never do. After spending many years away from faith, he found that for all of its flaws, the church can still occupy a unique place of good in the world if it is willing to evolve with reason and empathy.

Ryan has a special place in his heart for those who have been damaged or disillusioned by the church, and longs to lead those within it toward a more just and generous expression of itself.

Ryan is an INTJ on the MBTI and a 5w4 on the Enneagram

Ryan Phipps