This may seem trivial, but as one of the priests was preparing to say the sacrament prayer today, he pulled too hard on the little pull-out microphone and it made a kind of popping sound. He was obviously embarrassed at not having pulled it out quietly enough. My wandering mind started to wonder: how did it come about that we have these little pull-out microphones at the sacrament table as standard features in chapels? Was this an idea that started somewhere local and spread popularly, was recognized higher up in the hierarchy as a good idea, and then adopted as standard? Or was it the idea of someone at the top that was propagated down to the local level?
I rather suspect it was the former. But so what, you ask? Well, there have been some programs that have been started on a local level and, when successful, became a standard part of the official Church program. This seems to be quite accepted, despite the perception of the Church as a very “top-down” organization. Does this say anything about how we should perceive the workings of revelation and the Spirit in the Church? Are there doctrinal or “theological” examples of “bottom-up” influence? If not, does this point to a distinction between doctrine & practice contra some suggestions in the relatively recent Belief and Practice thread at Times & Seasons?
Is either “bottom-up” or “top-down” influence preferable? Can both fit the model of revelation in the Church?