During a track and field meet, something interesting happened at the high jump. It was perfectly ordinary at first, until one athlete, having missed two attempts, was making his third and final approach. He made a misstep, and knowing he couldn’t make the leap, he gave up and simply ducked under the bar. Of course he fully expected to be disqualified, but when he looked to the judges, they appeared not to have noticed. They simply signalled for the next round to begin.
Confused at first, and relieved, he walked back to the line up and prepared to go on as if nothing happened. But he had an amusing thought – why not see if it happened again? So on his first attempt he faked a stumble, ducked under the bar, and looked to the judges. Once again they didn’t seem to notice, and he saw that he had automatically been advanced.
Of course it wasn’t long before others caught on. Several athletes began to walk under the bar, while others continued to jump as normal. Though the crowd began to jeer the new interpretation of high-jumping the judges paid no attention, in fact they seemed to be entirely absorbed in conversation among themselves.
Slowly the high jump devolved into a bit of a farce. Those walking under the bar began to amuse themselves as they crawled, slid, and limbo-ed past the apparatus. They began to get a few chuckles from the bleachers, and soon were playing to the crowd to applause and laughter.
Shortly the change took on a new edge. Those practicing the high jump were boring and conventional. Whenever they rattled the bar, or knocked it down, the judges, disturbed by the noise would impatiently turn to their jobs, mark their records and disqualify the failing jumpers. Soon enough even the crowds turned on them, jeering their pointless efforts, mocking them when they rattled the bar, and cheering the judges when a high jumper was disqualified.
The event isn’t over yet. There are still people lining up to run under the bar, but it must be noted that the crowds have shrunk dramatically. In the long run it turns out that what happened at the high jump just isn’t that interesting after all.
My apologies: I was going to write about the decline of faith, moral, and doctrinal standards in the church. I appear to have run out of space with my little digression so, perhaps another time.