LUTHERAN THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL: DEFYING WORLDLY PERFECTION AND RECLAIMING OUR GLORIOUSLY IMPERFECT NATURE
By Jane Mueller. Published by the Lutheran Theological Journal, August 2020
The First and Second Industrial Revolutions changed everything. Among a mass of advancements, this era galvanised the shift from wonderfully unique hand-made items, to the mass production and standardisation of goods. With this shift came the new expectation that goods would be predictable, identical and consistent—in other words, perfect.
Our familiarisation with predictable, identical and consistent goods can influence our expectations of ourselves and of others. It’s ironic that through our own brokenness we often yearn for humans—just like a product from the assembly line—to in some way be streamlined or perfect.
Perfection is a dangerous concept to aspire to in ourselves, in others and especially in our children. When perfection becomes an expectation, the brain’s sympathetic nervous system activates a fight-or-flight response. People become imprisoned by pressure and overwhelmed by dread, resulting in procrastination, rebellion and other unhelpful behaviours.