Tyranny of the monologue

Maybe you have heard of the tyranny of the majority or even the tyranny of the urgent, but I would like to submit that the church suffers from the tyranny of the monologue.

Not all churches are under the oppression of the monologue. However, the power of the monologue has been very influential in the way most seminaries teach ministers how to be ministers. 

The tyranny of the monologue is not just that the church is set up to listen to one voice which has more weight than others. It is not just how preaching is conceived by one person standing addressing a crowd. It is much deeper and much more oppressive to community growth and maturation.

The monologue is many things, from Shakespeare to Leno,  but it is always one direction. The monologue does not care about the voice of the audience. The monologue cares about what the one who is delivering the monologue as to say. That is it.

So we have ministries that are set up to meet the needs of those who are doing the ministry rather than doing ministry to eradicate the needs of those who are being ministered to. The UMC polity is very monologue driven. For instance when we cannot even agree that we disagree on an issue, we have suffered the wrath of the monologue. The monologue does not tolerate disagreement.

The tyranny of the monologue is in the pews as well. When we desire our minister to give us the meaning of a scripture or even demand that the preacher apply the teaching to our lives for us so we do not have to really wrestle with the story of God. We have been "monologued".

When we would rather have a good monologue sermon than have a messy dialogue, you can bet the tyranny of the monologue is as strong as ever. 

When we would rather have a few "good" Sunday school teachers than empower everyone to be teachers - tyranny of the monologue.

When we read, consult or listen to the same voices over and over again - we are subjects to the reign of the monologue.

The monologue is a wonderful tool, but it can also be an oppressive hammer among the people of God. It is about time that we put the hammer down because it is doing a lot of damage these days.