March 29, 2012

More Of The Same...

"Both of us want to win this fight
Both of us think the other is mistaken, so mistaken
Meanwhile, everyone wants to take up sides
So everyone helps us to fall apart
Just another fact of life, it's hard to play fair
And it's so easy to pretend to care
But if nobody wants to share the blame
Then everyone gets more of the same."
Todd Rundgren - Change Myself

A Fast-Food worker in my town makes an uncaring and callous comment to a soldier about to deploy back to Afghanistan. His mother blogs about it, and the story is picked up on the local news. The company officials handled the incident well, but in the meantime, the employee has been threatened with violence from some who have heard about the incident.

In Florida, a youth is shot and killed by a man. The investigation is ongoing, but the national furor is growing, and battle lines are being drawn. A Hollywood celebrity, wanting to fan the flames of hatred, publishes the shooters address on his Twitter feed. One of the problems with his action was that he didn't have his facts straight, and now an innocent elderly couple with no relation to the shooter has had to leave their home and go into hiding from the threats.

A Christian pastor in Michigan writes a book that opens discourse to the possibility that we may not have eternal conscious torture in store for us if we don't accept Christ right now; that God's Love and will for all men to be saved might be a bigger and more powerful thing than the way we have theorized His justice and wrath to be. Other Christians immediately denounce this pastor as a false teacher, heretic, and accuse him of leading people directly to the fires of Hell.

Lines in the sand.
Great stone walls.
Fenced and gated communities.
Political parties that let our cities, states, and nation sag and decay because compromise isn't acceptable.

Boundaries, all of them. Richard Beck puts forth a compelling picture of how all those boundaries spring directly from our minds and hearts in his book Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality. 

Psychologists since the mid-Twentieth Century have been telling us how we all need boundaries, how they will help us live better and saner. The three true stories above demonstrate the full fruits of boundary psychology. It all reminds me of a lyric written by Neil Peart, "In their own image their world is fashioned. No wonder they don't understand."

The sad thing is that so many people actively build up these boundaries: some protest against abortion clinics and gays, some demonstrate against what they perceive to be unjust and unequal in society. Both sides are equally convinced the other is wrong.

I don't think that is what He wants for us.

He desires mercy, not sacrifice; crushed hearts, not self-righteous displays.
He blesses peacemakers.
He wants us to love each other the way He loves us.

Hatred stirs up strife, but Love covers all transgressions...

Love also breaks through boundaries.

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