In his book, Love and Respect, Emerson Eggerichs talks about how many couples are stuck in the Crazy Cycle:
It’s like someone coming into a room, flipping the light switch, and discovering the lights won’t come on. If someone tries the switch two or three times with no results, you can understand. He will eventually figure it out—a tripped circuit breaker, a burned-out bulb. But if he stands there and flips the switch constantly for half an hour, you begin to wonder, ‘Is this guy a little crazy?”
I think Eggerichs is putting a bit of flesh on the old saying that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” There is quite a bit of truth to this old adage. It is pretty dumb to keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting something different to happen…unless…
Unless you are commanded by God to keep flipping the light switch.
I’ve seen several church growth gurus pick up on this phrase. There is truth to it which I appreciate. I don’t intend to swing the pendulum too far the other way. There might be lots of silly things we are doing that worked 50 years ago but that light switch has burned out. It’s silly to keep a program going just because it worked a decade ago.
But there are some things which are simply non-negotiable within the life of a church. There are points within Scripture which will always be unpopular. The gospel has always been offensive. It’s never worked in a purely pragmatic sense. It was foolish to the audience of Paul and it’s foolishness in our culture.
I hear folks saying things like, “Preaching on God’s wrath just doesn’t square with today’s millennials”. The light bulb isn’t turning on. Sure, you might need to make sure you are faithfully communicating what God’s Word says, but it’s true whether the bulb happens to come on or not. Keep at the switch, brother. We aren’t dealing in pragmatics.
We preachers are called to be insane. Doing the same thing over and over again and at times expecting different results. And I suppose we do this because there are times when out of nowhere the light bulb comes on. Same action with totally different results. And that is because God always uses His Word but sometimes differently. So this is one switch that I’m going to keep on flipping…
I wrote this after being encouraged by this post by Jared Wilson.