A friend of mine once needed to consider moving from Austin to continue his work in ordained ministry. But he was loathe to leave his adopted home city. He told me that if it was true that he’d gotten himself into a rut here in Austin, nevertheless, it was for him, “a velvet rut.” Routine predictability, safety, and comfort are commendable goals. But before an individual, family, community, parish, diocese, or entire Church seeks single-mindedly the comforts of predictability, the safety of routine, and the peace and quiet of peace and quiet, they do well to pay close attention to the consequences that accompany this pursuit. For if the velvet rut is a furrow into which one may comfortably descend, there is also a hand that pushes one in and holds one there. Comfortable as the rut itself, it is a velvet glove fitted over the nasty claw of Fear.