drawing the line

Where do I draw the line? This question keeps coming to my conscious awareness, calling, clamoring for my response. In this blog post, I share my struggle. Before clarifying what I mean, let me state how and why this question presents itself and matters to me.

drawing the line

Our world, as I perceive it, is ever-increasingly disharmonious. Where personal and political, theological and philosophical ideologies rage, sometimes with death-dealing violence. Where proponents of ideas competing for space in the public square of debate come into conflict, and then resort, often enough, to mischaracterization and demonization of “the other” point of view and person(s). Where (and this ever hath been true of life in this world) none of us, even the most conflict-averse, is immune to (sometimes extended and extensive) moments of disagreement and dispute with others.

I am a Christian. I believe Jesus is the embodiment of love and justice, active unconditional benevolence and fairness that seeks to do good for all at all times. I believe the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus empowers me so that I am able (I can) and willing (as able, I can choose) to act with love and justice in thought and intention, word and deed. (As human, I am characteriologically self-interested and consistent in my inconsistency, thus I fail at my labor to live the life of Jesus as I understand it. Nevertheless, the same Spirit continually strengthens me to strive again and again to fulfill my calling.)

Now, when (for it is inevitable) others with whom I am related[1] profess their beliefs and I adhere to differing, opposing perspectives,[2] where do I draw the line between offering my compassion, whether spoken or in silence, that (seeking to understand others, to see others from their point of view, indeed, to stand in their life’s shoes) recognizes and respects their right to their views and challenging their positions, indeed, no matter how kindly my approach, confronting them?

Where do you draw the line?

 

Footnotes:

[1] Regarding relationships, I define myself as a theistic existential universalist, which is to say, I believe God created all of us, hence, I am related to all now and eternally whether my family by blood, my friends (my family by choice), acquaintances and associates of whatever cause and for whatever reason, strangers I encounter in the daily course of living, and those who have died, are living, and are yet to be born.

[2] I am thinking here about significant issues of this or any day, e.g., climate change, gender work-pay parity, genetic engineering, gun rights, health care, human sexuality, immigration law, just war, marriage equality, pro-choice/pro-life, race.

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3 thoughts on “drawing the line

  1. Well now Paul!! You’ve certainly written a timely piece!! All of the significant issues you raised in your footnote just continue to bubble up on a daily basis. I’d be the first to admit I maybe need to draw a new line!! Some of the things we read and hear today drives you to want to confront!! I am very peaceful person so thankfully a calm head typically wins in my case but it hasn’t been easy not to just blurt out my opinion, but I stop myself because I hear my accusatory tone in my head!! I’ve always been able to hear opposing opinions to mine without judgement, BUT these days I think there’s so much happening that I’m opposed to (NC comes to mind) that I need to take a step back and redraw my line!!! But in which direction do I move it??? Hopefully to the side of love and justice so I can continue to love those with whom I disagree vehemently.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for giving your readers a chance to rethink how their lines are drawn.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this is an issue so many of us are struggling with now. I am getting ready to spend time in NC with relatives and I know I will be on a different page than a lot of them on many issues confronting us today. It is difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loretta, on my 2nd cup of coffee, this question came to me, pressing me to respond. I believe it’s been stirring within me psychically for quite the while and for whatever reason(s) came to light today. As I wrote this post – and stopped where I did – I instantly realized there was more gurgling to be said and for me to write. More to come…

    I appreciate you and your spirit of acceptance and equanimity that allows you, truly, that calls you to be in relation to others with whom you, at times, disagree. You reference to NC clearly is resonant for so many, for I see my dear friend Janet Sargeant speak of a coming visit with her NC relations.

    Janet, peace be with you and with all!

    Much love to you both.

    Like

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