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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Up for a Swim?

The other night, Charles was over for dinner and asked what I thought of the Terri Schiavo case. I had to admit that I hadn't been following it. Then, to the surprise of all, Malachi piped up with his very own opinion, and a good one at that. He's been reading and thinking, and it reminds me that I need to be doing that too. Way to go son!

At any rate, I stumbled across some reflections this morning (here and here) which I thought I'd pass along. I particularly appreciated two things about Anne's blog: 1) her tone is gracious, and 2) she's asking some good questions. I have a couple of comments I'd like to add.

First, these things have a way of quickly devolving into partisan political discussions - where we think about the issue the way we would approach a debate topic: how do I score over my opponent. I'm just not interested in that; I'd much rather have a meaningful conversation over a cup of coffee or a good beer where I can actually get a glimpse of how they view the world.

Second, these things also have a way of devolving into abstract ethical debates - we we think about the issue as a problem to be solved, a puzzle to be unlocked. We reduce the players to variables, we try to come up with some "universal principle" which can be applied to every situation and yield the "right results."

It is very easy to forget that there are real people involved in this - husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, lovers - people who have taken vows and given birth and invested their lives in this woman. And yet these same people are also human, weak, frail, sinful. They get tired of the fight. They have vested interests and their hearts are bent. Just like mine.

And this is an extremely complex, difficult situation. There are no easy answers.

You see in many ways, the person I most relate to in this whole situation is Terri Schiavo's husband - I'm just tired of hearing about it, ready to move on. Yet the gravity of the situation - and the value of human life - means he can't. Deep down, he knows it, and so do we.

The fact that my 13 year old is watching this drama unfold means I can't either. He is standing on the edge of the pool, down at the deep end, dipping his toe in the water, watching how the adults of this world swim through life. He is seeing history unfold, he is learning about the character of our nation, the way we live our lives, make our decisions, sell our souls.

And we are asking him to absorb our values and embrace our prejudices.

He senses this implicitly, and that's why he is watching me for my response, taking his cues from me, just like your kids will look to you.

This is why his gospel will inevitably become either "my gospel" or "anything but my gospel." Welcome to life. That's just the way it works.

So...who's up for a swim?


At 7:45 AM, March 22, 2005, Blogger Ainsley said...

Thanks, again, Christian, for your insight. I love reading your views because they oftne remind me that I so easily can get off "track" by saying what SOUNDS good, but isn't quite viewed through the lens of Christ and his work.

At 7:55 AM, March 22, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

Thank you, Ainsely - I think you've just summarized the real issue quite nicely: we need to be looking at everything through the lens of the gospel, with the eyes of Christ. I didn't actually do much of that yet in this initial post (another one later maybe), but I'll throw that out as THE question we should be wrestling with here:

How does the gospel bear on this situation?


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