Tuesday, April 24, 2007

To navigate the middle, or not.....

This is just a short observation today. I'm contemplating how we try to resolve the conflicts, not only between people with differing views, but within ourselves. I live my life trying to walk the line between "protectionism" (or legalism) on one side and "license" on the other. Living in the freedom of Christ while knowing that "all things are permissible, but not all things are profitable" for me, or my family. And, of course, I don't really think "all things" are permissible. Interesting dilemma.

Some days I throw myself into the freedoms..sure that the exposure to books, music, films, ideas, and TV shows are harmless and perhaps even beneficial as I strive to understand the culture we live in. On other days there is the "dragging-down" from ideas and images, and it feels like complicity with behaviors and attitudes I feel are unhealthy (and, honestly, wrong). It feels like rationalization.

Like the prayer loop that is an excuse to share gossip, the freedoms to interact with culture and ideas can become, for me, an excuse to neglect myself and avoid self-discipline. It can be a way to avoid the demands of faith on my life.

I still have a self-protective barrier up, to some degree, when it comes to engaging ideas. I know that. I don't always like it, but I still feel it is necessary for one simple reason. I don't know how to evaluate all the information that comes my way. I still believe there really are ideas full of light and truth, and ideas full of rationalizations for avoiding light and truth.

I'd love to think on this further and to develop some of the nebulous thoughts floating around in my head. I don't like what I've written because it doesn't say what I want. I've written and deleted more than I've left, all while fielding questions from various children and watching the clock so I won't be late. My presence is demanded in the life of my house and family...so must go.

I'll leave with this thought- in the past four or five years I've seen new ways to look at life and faith and am better for it. But while I have changed in my approach to many things, fundamentally I am the same. My desire is to be found "in Christ." Evaluations of my "options" in life come down to this: Does it further my goal?

5 comments:

julieunplugged said...

I am sure there is a lot of stuff under this post that you are choosing not to share deliberately. On the surface, though, I wanted to say that I think you have been a more open person to other viewpoints in the last two years (at least for the sake of understanding how they work for others, even when you disagree) than in the years before. I find that wonderful about you.

I know for me, what I felt I had to do was become competent to make judgments for myself. I didn't feel qualified to evaluate ideas (particularly theological ones) so I entered grad school (not an option for everyone). It has helped me tremendously on many levels. Beyond the obvious training in how to think theologically, it has also helped me to become a better critic but also a better believer. I no longer evaluate views to find flaws as much as I do to find/glean insight. What does this idea have to offer (even if I disagree with the premise)?

Anyway, that's some of what I thought of in reading your blog. :)

Have fun this weekend. I'll be missing you.

carrie said...

Hi Julie! I love seeing your comments in my inbox.

There is a lot I'm not sharing, but it has more to do with time than anything else. I love thinking outloud, and had originally planned to do that here...try to sort through some of the steps I'm taking on either side of the line. It wouldn't be anything new for you, I don't think. Some of it is mundane...should the teens see this or that movie? Should I spend my time reading something that conflicts with my point of view or something that adds to it? How much does what we see or hear (or read) effect us as far as our own behavior? Will watching shows that include adultry make me more accepting of it? Will watching show that present premarital sex as a good option make my kids more inclined to follow suit?

Each day I find my life is full of big and small choices like these. Some of the choices I've made in the past year have at times left me with doubts about my faith and God's character. I think you know how that feels. I want to remain open to hearing other viewpoints and trying to understand them. I guess I'm just allowing myself not to let that make me question everything I believe. Make sense?

I like what you said here about doing something to become more competent to make judgements. I am trying to take steps that way, only it's not completely clear how to do that. I don't want to listen to other people with the purpose of finding flaws, either. I like looking for what the idea has to offer. I think at first I just didn't know how to "isten and learn" without feeling the need to accept.

Thanks!

carrie said...

Another thought...

When I started writing the post, I was also thinking about when it is okay not to "navigate the middle." I still want to do that. When is "fanaticism" and passionate obsession with something okay?

Carrie

Ampersand said...

Carrie, just wanted to say that I appreciate this, from your comment to Julie:

Each day I find my life is full of big and small choices like these. Some of the choices I've made in the past year have at times left me with doubts about my faith and God's character. I think you know how that feels. I want to remain open to hearing other viewpoints and trying to understand them. I guess I'm just allowing myself not to let that make me question everything I believe. Make sense?

While I am, at least theoretically, willing to question everything I believe, I really understand how this is not the best path for everyone, particularly those that hold to a belief system.

I really appreciate how you try to navigate the middle and also respect where you draw your boundaries.

Ampersand said...

I came back to say that I understand that you are doing more than "holding to a belief system," as I phrased it in my comment. I meant that in a generative way, not to minimize that your desire is to be found "in Christ."