Design the Door

Design the Door (mp3)

There’s something you should know about doors in Asia. They are incredibly strong.

Asia-Pacific sees all forms of typhoons, weather, critters, and other phenomenon of creation trying to penetrate their tropical homes. The doors keep most of it out.

East Asia has been making door keys longer than the West has been making disciples of Jesus. So, naturally, strong doors come with the territory.

One thing that hasn’t seemed to catch-up to the epic doorway integrity of Asia is the frame the doors close within. They aren’t that strong.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. The door frames in Asia are stronger than door frames of the West. It’s just that the doors themselves are so much stronger and heavier… The door frames keep the doors shut very nicely, but if you close the door too fast it can damage the frame. I mean, they swing shut like a city gate that would have rivaled Samson himself. And, that’s the thing… Once a designer pours all his energy into making a door so strong, he no longer has the energy to build a door frame that can handle the door when it closes. So, doors in Asia are secure—but there aren’t many beat-up door frames. That’s because the locals close their epic doors with epic patience.

You see, East Asia is still, largely, a manufacturing and engineering economy. Streets are lined with local machine shops. Department stores sell kitchen pots in “parts”—as in, the pots are there… and the pot handles are over here… and the lids are across the isle… and the lid handles are next to them… You get the picture. Since Asia manufactures so many things for the world, locals are accustom to seeing things disassembled, which, we in the Consumptive West never thought could be taken apart. You know that protective plastic that comes on the front of your refrigerator? Well, many ten year old refrigerators in Asia still have it. That’s how Asia is used to seeing Western refrigerators, most of the time. In a “factory world”, locals have a “factory perspective”. So, doors are enormously strong and they are closed with care.

Is it a good thing? Maybe. But, it may not be so good for business. Manufacturers handle things differently than consumers. The West isn’t familiar with large, heavy Asian doors—and probably for good reason. Factories put plastic on the refrigerators, not for consumer use, but for the factory. That plastic cover doesn’t protect the goods in the home, but from the dust and scratches associated with manufacturing and shipping. Consumable goods must have more than assembly: They must be consumable. Epic doors that require epic patience aren’t consumable—unless you work in a factory that makes them.

Doors and door frames should be made for each other—for normal people to use them together.

In the field of law, it is said that a law must be both enforceable and able to be followedA city government can outlaw walking, but then there would either be no people in the city or else everyone would be redefined as criminal. In other words, crazy laws aren’t enforceable because nobody can follow them.

Think of the door as society and the door frame as the law. They must be made for each other. Crafting good law takes careful thought, consideration, and research, not just knowledge of legal jargon and rigmarole. If we aren’t careful about traffic laws, for instance, local governments just end up creating a bunch of speed traps. (Many do that on purpose, but that opens up ‘doors’ to another discussion.)

We create laws all the time. Parents make rules for their children. Teachers have rules for students. I’m an adult and my mom still makes me take off my shoes at the door. It makes sense, we need rules—rules that are good, well-considered, and give justice. That’s the amazing thing about Jesus. He’s so brilliant that He can settle the disputes among nations. So, I pray He returns soon.

For now, though, we’ve got to craft our own rules. Sure, we can pray and ask God for wisdom. But we’d do ourselves a big favor to understand just how difficult it is to make good rules and laws. Some people are really good at it—and others… well… not quite so good.

When we choose leaders, we should look at their track record of actually solving disputes and helping people reconcile their differences. That’s one of the big responsibilities of every leader: reconciliation, not reconciling everyone to himself, but to each other. If we choose a leader who hasn’t helped settle disputes between others, and he fails, we should only blame ourselves. Everyone isn’t a “rule guru” and we shouldn’t expect them to be. And when a “rule guru” comes along, it might be a good idea to listen.

So, in the foreseeable future, I’ll stay here in Asia, closing and opening doors with patience. And I’ll keep praying for God to send us the right leaders—and for us to recognize the right leaders when they arrive. If we can find a good match, we never know what doors might open.

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