When I was a cop and we received a call of a crime in progress, we would arrive on the scene and set up a perimeter around the building where the crime was taking place. Once all the officers were in position at the four corners of a building, we would then attempt entry and try to find the suspect and make an arrest.
Just before making entry, we would yell inside the building letting the suspect(s) know the perimeter was secure and to come out with their hands up. If we had a K-9 available a growl from the dog or the sound of the racking slide from a pump shotgun would many times be enough incentive to get the suspect to surrender without incident.
This “setting up a perimeter” concept can also apply to the major events in a culture where the Church responds offering insight or taking some form of action. An isolated single corner response from people of faith to what is taking place inside a developing situation reminds me of what it would have been like to have an overzealous officer arrive at the scene of a burglary in progress and foolishly take it upon themselves to rush in without waiting for backup. This kind of lone ranger way of faith rashly moves forward without receiving wise counsel from other perspectives eventually putting themselves, the suspect, and other responding officers in added jeopardy.
We are all confident of what we see from where we stand when something significant is going down. The problem is we can’t see the other three corners. Our single point of view is a critical piece of a much larger issue, but it is still only a piece.
After these real-life police incidents, we would debrief our response. We conducted these debriefings, not with the primary goal of attaching blame or asking for someone’s badge but to mature and discipline our future response to the next stress-filled incident we would encounter.