September 1, 2020


Water Rock Knob 09/02/2014 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Maggie Valley, North Carolina
The more serious something gets,
the more absurd it becomes.

The Right To Life movement
has proven itself to be unworthy of the title
by embracing Donald Trump
and allowing him to kill as many people as he wants
as long as he makes abortion punishable by death.

"We know he is a snake, but he will make abortion illegal--
and anything else he wants to do is fine with us!"

The position is absurd,
and deadly serious.

We live on a continuum between serious and absurd,
and have to strike a balance
between being serious enough
without being too outlandishly absurd.
Life in the extremes is untenable,
no matter what the continuum connects.

"Live toward the center!"
is the wisdom wrung from the ages.
"Back to the center!"
is the lesson every generation
learns the hard way,
because extremes beget extremes,
and no one knows where the center point is
until well after it is past.

We find the center
by moving back to it,
not by realizing where it is
when we are there.

We are always looking for the center,
though we do not often realize
what we seek.

Joseph Campbell said,
"That which you seek
lies far back in the darkest corner
of the cave you most don't want to enter."

That would be the center he is talking about.
Particularly the center of ourselves.
The heart,
and source
of our own being.

Knowing who we are
in a "This is who I am,
and this is what I stand for,
and this is what is most important to me,
and these are my gifts,
my genius,
my daemon,
 my spirit,
my virtues,
my character,
my values,
my vitality,
my energy,
my life--
and who are you?" kind of way.

Knowing who we are,
and being who we are,
in relationship with others
who are knowing who they are
and being who they are,
with mutual respect and concern,
acceptance and compassion,
in recognizing and embracing
our differences
and allowing them to be
is the sine qua non of community,
and the single most essential requirement
for living together
in ways that honor everyone's
right to be who they are
at the expense of no one else's 
right to be who they are.

Robert Frost observed,
"Good fences make good neighbors."

Knowing where we stop
and our neighbor starts
is essential knowing.

Respecting/honoring the differences
that set us apart,
makes possible the attitude toward each other
that holds us together,
and makes life all it can be 
for every one.

If the only way we can live together
is for you to do it like I do it,
or for me to do it like you do it,
we won't be able to live together
for very long.

Honoring our right to be different
makes life possible for us all.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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