A protocol is a system of rules, accepted behavior, and guidelines that determine the correct way to act in a given situation. There are protocols in all areas of life – religious, business, medicine, etc. A protocol can evolve with the acceptance of new evidence, even evidence that contradicts the tenets of the existing protocol. The process of an honest reevaluation can be hindered by the fear that someone might lose their reputation among fellow protocol practitioners or lose the financial support offered by those who developed the protocol and require obedience to its dictates to keep the flow of money coming.
When a protocol is established and entrenched in a system of belief, medicine, or government, it is difficult to challenge its ineffectiveness because people and institutions are invested in the success of the protocol. At best, any challenge that rocks the boat will be dismissed as out-of-step with either the science or philosophical process that created the protocol. At worst, a person’s mental state or their religious conviction will be vilified and considered a negative influence in society acting against the common good promised by obedience to the protocol.
Jesus violated religious and cultural protocols. So did His early disciples and many who followed Him in the ensuing centuries. Nero’s Rome was brought down by the presence of the Church who resisted Rome’s protocol for society-wide lockstep obedience to its dark dictates.
A death of unrighteous or misinformed protocols is taking place. These protocols are the fingers of hell’s hand meddling in the affairs of culture and the mission of the Church. Those fingers are being slapped away by acts of tough love that some followers of Christ will find too aggressive for their contemplative form of faith.
Change takes place when people begin to ask “why.” Questioning an established protocol will cause its stewards to double down on its defense even to the detriment of those whom the protocol promised to serve. At that point, it requires spiritual courage to stand and say “No” and ask that new evidence and reasoning be introduced into the process to discover a better way of living life and conducting business.