Mind Matters

by Rev. Robert H. Tucker

Number 256
August 11, 1997

Minority Report


"A great opportunity is before us. Difficulties abound, but we can do it!"


And the people said: "NO!"


That's not the way its supposed to happen in America: we expect an exciting future possibility to always win over the unsatisfying present reality.

That incident, though, took placed 3,000 years ago. In the wilderness, following the exodus from Egypt, the possibility of entering Palestine from the south was considered. A committee was formed. They surveyed the land, and reported back that it was a "land flowing with milk and honey." That initial anticipatory delight of the people turned into night-long weeping as the committee's report continued: the cities were fortified, and the people were of great size ("We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."). Joshua and Caleb, two of the committee of twelve, said, "God's with us. Let's go for it." However, the majority's caution and fear took hold, and the opportunity was lost (for 40 years).

We are very dependent on minorities for human advancement. For example, a minority of the population supported the American Revolution, and only a minority of that minority gave it strong support. The winter soldiers at Valley Forge dwindled to a bare 2,000 men, and Americans were unwilling to pay taxes to support the cause. A dogged minority gave us our freedom.

Of course minority reports don't deserve a blanket endorsement. To heedlessly stumble into the future has little appeal. Yet, so resistant are we to change that the call of a minority should be taken with utmost seriousness. Too often, refusal to grasp the future leaves groups wandering in a wilderness, finding only later what could have been a joyful reality in the present..

My experience with other organizations leads me to truly value First Congregational. Members listen even to single voices calling for new ways of serving, and they respond, exemplifying George Bernard Shaw's line in Back to Methuselah, "You see things; and you say, "Why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"

Well, "Why not?"

--Robert H. Tucker
11 August 1997

© Robert H. Tucker, 1997.
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