Friday, October 24, 2008

Word of the Week: Lockstep


  1. A way of marching in which the marchers follow each other as closely as possible.
  2. A standardized procedure that is closely, often mindlessly followed.
I know, it's been a while. I should explain that this is the word for THIS week, and that there may not be a word next week or the week after. But this week this unusual word jumped out at me several times and I just had to stop and think about it. The first usage was in the political sense, as in "I used to be a lockstep Republican" (quoting from the example I read). The second instance was in a corporate setting.

So I'm wondering, is being "in lockstep" ever a desirable quality? I suppose some would say that we want to be in lockstep with Christ. But even there, looking at the gospel stories, I can't  exactly see that's what Christ had in mind. I can picture him, trudging up the dusty road and turning to see his disciples marching in tightly ordered sync behind him. Perhaps he might say something like, "You guys are too close!" And then, relieved and free to be themselves, I see Andrew dallying behind to talk to a little boy about his lunch. I see Thomas scratching his head, a million miles away and deep in thought. I see Peter running ahead, forging out opportunities.

I desire to follow Christ as closely as possible. But I am also coming to learn that he longs for me to follow him as who he created me to be and who I am becoming. In becoming more fully who he intended me to be, am I not becoming more like him? I so long to break rank and move into the freedom that is already mine.


Katrina said...

Well, the "mindlessly" part is no good :), but I think of it this way: as believers, we're called to a kind of "lockstep unity" -- a unity of the heart and spirit. The outward expression of that unity, however, will vary based on our passions, our dreams, our personalities, and where we are in our walk with Christ.

Dianne said...

Hm, that sheds a new light on the word for me. I guess the contexts I'd been seeing it were mostly negative (i.e. mindless) but unity casts it in a different light.