Saturday, June 19, 2010

In response to my ramblings on about the place (or lack thereof) of theology in my discernment process, in the working out of my salvation, George referred me to a post on his blog

It was probably not what he hoped I would take from it but I was struck as he wrote of a Friend who rose to ministry in his meeting and said, in effect, that one who follows the Light will oppose abortion.

That made me realize that the times I am pulled into the Light (and held there if I squirm to leave) don't have to do with such things as my abstract beliefs about "issues" like abortion or war.   I am dealt with by Christ about specific things that have actually happened or are happening in my life or the lives of people who are in my life, immediately or remotely.  It's about the choices I have or am making about dealing with real circumstances and situations, choices about how I am or am not treating someone, impacts--direct and indirect--of my behavior on others.   It's very non-abstract, and has nothing to do with "issues" (things about which people disagree).

God is in the choices I live out--not in the lame ideas I come up with, or adopt from others, about how the world (or God) works and how that should inform my choices.  My thoughts about abortion or war or global warming are just that:  thoughts.   Throughout my life I have "thought through" a lot of issues (from an array of points of view) and come to have "firm convictions" about such things that I could quack about with others around a table or in the course of whiling away a long trip.  But my experience is that such convictions have often led me to regrettable outcomes in some real situation in which I turned to them and expected to have been able to rely on them for guidance.  

I now know that's because these "convictions" are the product of abstract ideologies and theologies (and there is no other kind) from whose speculative premises and assumptions I have reasoned, with whatever data I have had on hand, doing as best I could in overcoming the shortcomings of my reasoning abilities (the extent of which many can provide eloquent testimony), including the skewing effect of the beams in my eye (called "thinking errors" these days) and the threats involved, sometimes, in doing what I know (even when I need reminding) I should do without going through any "thinking through," at all. 

I have also seen people sink--and pull others under with them--wearing the iron life vest of one or another firmly held conviction about the way to stay afloat in stormy seas (especially firmly held convictions, convictions that made perfect sense, about how to deal with interpersonal conflict).  

I think of the accusers of the adulterous woman--they knew what their ideo-theology told them to do in that situation.  But the Light of Christ shining through Jesus, it is written, led them out of the evil into which their reasoning was drawing them, and to an edifying outcome (for all) of compassion and righteousness.  Beyond its immediate impact, some of those men, at least, grew and were changed by the experience that superseded their "common/cultural sense" as a guide.

My experience is that Christ is not involved in my lame figuring and my reckoning about abstractions and hypothetical situations.   The longer I have "agonized" over a moral decision the more room there was for rationalization to lead me where it was easiest, and in my short term interest, to go:  to some kind of disaster for me or for someone else. 

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