Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Random Conclusions

I have always been impatient; perhaps now is not the time to be drawing conclusions. But I've seen, heard, and read enough to know a few things for certain:
1) We shall have to live with one another, no matter what happens. There is no escape from the conflict over human sexuality. We cannot create hermetically sealed churches and denominations where we do not have to acknowledge one another's existence. Even if we could do this, we are only feeding the secularizing atheism that our intransigence spawned in this culture in the first place. If Christians can't love those who say they are Christians, how can we love the drug addict-- the prostitute-- the sinner looking for love, not knowing they are looking for Christ?
2) We are too proud to stop feeding our anger. Mark Twain said, "temper gets us into trouble, but pride keeps us there." No one wants to be the first to admit they don't actually have all the answers, are not just victimized, but also victimizer. We hang on to our bloody shirts, recounting the wounds inflicted upon us, and will not accept the simple truth that the bloody shirt waved in our faces by the one arguing against us is as real as ours is. Pride keeps us asleep so that the nightmare simply plays on. No one wants to wake up.
3) No side will "win." If anything should have taught us this, the reawakening of the Gnostic heresy after almost 2 millenia should have. One side "won;" the other side buried their texts rather than doing as they were commanded and destroying them. But Gnosticism never totally died because it appeals strongly to human pride and human thought. Even if the church police had burned every copy of the Gospel of Thomas, its basic teachings would still be knocking around the churches of the world. If a conflict 2,000 years old in the church is not solvable by law/violence, how likely is it that this conflict can be erased with the same tools? Those who hope for triumph constantly point to slavery, and say, "see, we passed a law and it stopped. The Bible is wrong-- slavery can be eradicated." And there are more slaves in the world right now than there were in 1860-- when millions in Brazil, the United States, and Russia were still in legal servitude. The fight against slavery will go on as long as there are three human beings on the planet-- slavery is a fundamental expression of human will and human power. No law can perfect the human heart. Those whose hope is in a conclusion will always be disappointed until Christ returns.
4) Since the Garden of Eden, there never has been an era of easy peace. We keep harking back to good old days, when it seemed that conflict wasn't there. But the golden age of the 1950's is the era of Joe McCarthy, of the ramped-up violence of those who tried to nip the Civil Rights movement in the bud. Those years only look peaceful and happy because the 50's were compared to the 30's and 40's-- and almost anything would look peaceful and happy in that comparison. Living out our faith in Christ is a constant daily struggle individually and collectively. It has always been thus, and it always will be.

1 comment:

  1. You are one of the most patient people I know in some situations, Clay! Perhaps in this situation impatience is being willing to do what God wants you to do - BE OBEDIENT TO HIM! Praise God for your courage to do that!

    In Christ's Love!