Meeting Christ on both sides of the aisle.

Posted on September 11, 2011 by

I’m feeling all mommy-sentimental this week as we start back to our little school at home routine and I realize how utterly independent my children have become all of a sudden.  They can prepare their own meals (and mine, good ones!), start their own laundry, begin their own math lessons, crack their own Bibles, saddle their own horses, count their own money, plead their own causes, compose their own correspondence, mulch their own vegetables, collect their own rainwater, tie their own shoes….if their Dad and I died tomorrow, they’d know most of the practical things a person should to make a go of an adequate life (besides flushing the damn toilet – what the hell?) .   They’re very young, they’d need supervision, but if no one ever taught them another thing they have enough basic information to know how to pursue more information.  They know how to learn.

What I’m not as certain of, and what is more important, is if I’ve instilled in them the right relationship with that still small voice.  They’re well schooled in when to hold the line, but  less so in when to forgo caution should the  voice cry a loud resounding “charge!”.  Not in violence, as it’s rarely warranted, and not on impulse, as it’s rarely accurate, but deliberately, when the situation calls and the need has arisen to be more than an interested bystander.

We’ve already begun to wade into what promises to be a long ugly political season.  The economy is bad enough, but it’s all very depressing –  if the warm-up bouts of the 2012 match are any indication, the main event will  be a cage-fight of epic proportions.  People will be destroyed, families will suffer, neighbors will be distrustful, relationships will be forfeited.  And that’s just amongst the candidates.  No fish-hooking and no eye gouging will be considered high principles before it’s all over.

The rhetoric has revealed something more profound, more destructive than indebtedness to China and all them fer’ners stealin’ our jobs  – we more than hate each other.  We do not love one another.

We are spiritually insolvent.

Not loving is worse than hating, because not loving is apathy.  Hate has passion, recourse, redemptive possibilities.  As in God hates sin, but he does not abandon us to it – he hates it so much because it hurts us, it’s not merely circumstantial.   Plain old not loving, though, is a pedestrian dismissal of the  parts of  humanity who get on our nerves, interfere with our comfort, challenge our positions.  It’s our divorce, it’s our road rage, it’s our social network vengeance, that untreated addiction to disobedience that gives us perverse pleasure while simultaneously sinking us, wholly and utterly.

Erin Manning, aka Red Cardigan phrases it perfectly:

.…”we can only do that sort of thing when we allow ourselves to see these people not as human beings of intrinsic worth, but as enemies and others, another iteration of the endless cultural pastime of Us vs. Them that seems to be a favorite game of the early 21st century American.”

In other words, it’s when our ego stands up, pulls it’s sackcloth garment tight over it’s back, rolls it’s contemptuous eyes and hisses : I ain’t kissin’ no leper.  Non servium.

Heather King, who blogs at Shirt of Flame, and whose book of the same title on St. Therese of Lisieux is due out anytime now,  writes about living in The Mansion of L.A.  She did not miss the opportunity to see:

“Recently I was headed to a seven o’clock Taize “hour of prayer” at St. Francis but first I took a long walk, up and around the steep streets north of Sunset Boulevard, lost in thought, the air rich with the fragrance of lavender and wild fennel and sage. Way up near the top of the hill, I ran into a shirtless man who was also walking…..

…..It was one of those serendipitous moments of communion that, to me, are some of the sweetest fruit of the contemplative life. And all the way down the hill to church, I thought, That was Christ. I just ran into Christ.”

The big charities – solidarity, subsidiarity – those are gifts, and the only way to reconcile Christ and the leper in the same person.  The concepts  are difficult to administer in our politically driven hearts, but they are the answer to our lack of love.  They are home and away, they are conservative and liberal, they are classical and contemporary, they are rigorous and they are accommodating.  They were designed to give meaning to free will and to protect others from our impetuous natures, and to still let us see Christ on the road, whether he’s calling us to be still or to charge ahead.  They are not about the ever ephemeral “freedom” – they are profound and permanent liberation for all who participate.  Not unlike Christ.

Posted in: Religion