I’ll Take the High Road…You Can Follow if You’d Like

Mental BattleI think it’s about time I publicly address the tumultuous (mental) battle between church and state.  As a Christian and ardent supporter of human rights, I often find it difficult to strike a balance between popular opinion and “the words of the Lord” (Psalm 12:6).  Of course, the latter are open to interpretation, which makes them especially difficult to discern in the midst of such pressing political pressures.  For a Christian like me, the easiest way to escape this discomfort is to model our legal system after the archaic text of the Bible, making hard and fast rules despite their possible irrelevancy to the modern world. However, that’s doesn’t seem to be the appropriate method of resolution.  That type of rule making binds itself to nationalism, intolerance, and oppression, none of which are of God.  There must be a better way.

Church_StateSo, as a body of believers, Church, what are we left to do?  Shan’t we endeavor to protect the country from falling to pieces?  Must we fight to block the path to unrighteousness to ensure the moral well being of our fellow citizens?  Well, good idea, but no.  In our rush to block the “low road,” some of us have created unnecessary strife and encouraged a following of radicals who misrepresent our faith (i.e. Westboro Baptist Church).   Let us go about our attempt at godliness in a different way.  Just as the Father granted us free will, we should mirror such grace in the law.  During my time considering the moral repercussions of catering the legal system to a modern audience, I came across a quote; “You are free to choose.  You are not free from the consequences of your choice.”  Who are we to dictate the consequences of an impersonal, ‘venial sin’ like homosexuality?  That is for God to handle.  As for us, we can grant the freedom to choose.  That is closer to godliness.

GraceI understand, Church, that it is difficult to align oneself with faithless people who are fighting for the same end, be they in popular political matters or in the details of everyday life.  Despite this difficulty, we should still realize that our attempts to close the low road do not keep people from taking it.  Rather than forcing people to take the high road, we should invite them to do so by representing it well.  We should focus on taking the high road ourselves. Eventually people may see our good faith and imitate, but perhaps they will not.  We cannot force people to do what they don’t want to.  And we, better than anyone, should know that.

4 thoughts on “I’ll Take the High Road…You Can Follow if You’d Like

  1. Hiya Amber — late reply here (been on the road).

    You wrote ” We cannot force people to do what they don’t want to. ” Mamma mia, how that runs true in so many parts of my life and my work. Yet we still try and force people, eh?

    I think what has challenged me about the formal religious part of my life (mostly past) was that it stressed the conforming, the line across which we must not pass. Yet my life experience has shown me that compassion, inclusiveness, and love are the only things that we really have to give. Not rules or damnation. So I continue to find myself stepping away from much of American organized religion. With that, I miss out on a lot as well, particularly community.

    I’m not sure there is a reconciliation, but a grace in living with the tensions and polarities of life, eh? How do you manage that day to day?

  2. Hey Nancy!

    Thanks so much for the reply! I can say that my recent journey in spiritual growth has included clinging to my admittedly muddled understanding of some “absolute truths.” However, I’ve come to understand that this blind adherence is both naive and futile. Like you noted, kindness and love are more important than the rules themselves. Against such things there is no law.

    What’s interesting is that, with this realization, you choose to step away from organized religion, while I choose to step closer. I think there lies a grace in our shared knowledge of this difference and mutual respect for one another. You articulated it well when you described the challenge as “living with the tensions and polarities of life.” As part of my endeavor to address these tensions and conduct myself accordingly, I pray for continued guidance. In more pragmatic terms, I regularly consider the origins/intentions of my thoughts and judgments. In addition, I make sure to think carefully before I speak or make a decision, so as to be sure that the outcome is one that is truly good-natured and meaningful. I anticipate that my growth as a Christian, academic, and feminist will afford me with increased skills in this capacity, and I look forward to enlightened discussion on many of the issues that plague our nation today.

  3. Beautiful reflection, Amber. Somehow I just had a sense of you in those words. I smiled a big smile. Waving from Seattle and sending you lots of love, kindness and encouragement on your path…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.