Like most spiritual ideas in fundyland, the Little Foxes Theory begins by yanking a couple of verse from the surrounding passage and doing them no small amount of violence. Apparently the best way to understand this bit of Scripture is that in the middle of writing out some spicy love poetry, the author suddenly takes a break to write a brief essay on why little sins like not tucking in your shirt lead to bigger ones like not wearing a shirt at all. It certainly makes perfect sense that right after penning the words “let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely” that the time is ripe for a bit of moralistic guilt-tripping.
Watever its questionable exegetical roots, there is no question that the “little foxes” concept has taken firm root in fundyland and then grown into quite a warped and twisted shape. For the way this principle is often taught is that as long as one takes care to obsess over the minutia of life then the larger sins will never even be a temptation. If you dress right, listen to the right music, never say “golly,” or watch The Simpsons on TV then there’s almost no chance at all of you smoking pot or getting your girlfriend pregnant. Almost.
This idea of keeping the little things in order to thwart the larger sins also informs the sermon habits of many fundyland pastors who honestly believe that as long as they are keeping kids from running in the hallways and keeping their parents from reading the NIV that they have nothing to fear from the sins of lust, and greed, and pride. It’s a very tidy notion that is not at all bothered by its complete disconnection from reality.
The real tragedy here is that oftentimes people in fundyland are led to believe that if they cannot “win” over the temptation to listen to rock n’ roll or wear more than one earring per ear that they might as well give up and live a life of debauchery. After all, what’s the difference? The little foxes are going to get you. It’s only a matter of time.
It’s just like Solomon says in the very next verse: “My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.” I know it sounds a lot like more love poetry but I’m sure that is somehow related to the topic at hand. You just have to know how to look.