seven somewhat random, yet (I believe) relevant observations

I.
It is not legitimate … in fact, it is totally illegitimate … to claim to be a responsible person and then seek only to assign responsibility and tell others what to do instead of assuming responsibility and figuring out what it is you need to do.

That’s something our worship teaches us in the liturgy of confession.

What about if it is, in fact, “their,” “her,” or “his” fault? Doesn’t matter. We still start with our own response-ability. That centers us where we need to be—in a solidly un-selfrighteous place.

II.
It is not legitimate … in fact, it is totally illegitimate … to seek to legislate what we call morality, while at the same time refusing to consider the morality of what we call legislation.

That’s something the law and the prophets … and Jesus and the epistles—which is to say the entirety of Scripture teaches us.

What about the separation of church and state? That important affirmation has to do with corporate spheres of influence, not individual spheres of involvement. As believers and followers in the way of God, we need to represent our faith (its teachings, expectations, and priorities) in the public square (if but to consistently remind our leaders and fellow citizens of teachings, expectations, and priorities other than the norm—of a citizenship more precious and profound than any political one, and a story more definitive than any national one).

III.
It is not legitimate … in fact, it is totally illegitimate to take one aspect of what someone else thinks and therefore assimilate that person into some demographic (totally disrespecting the rich fullness of her or his being) just to bolster some claim (some need to claim?) that there are other people just like me.

This my friend at church who’s theologically progressive, fiscally conservative, and socially moderate has taught me by simple virtue of our relationship.

What about people who do agree with each other? What about the joys of seeking out the company of like-minds and hearts? It’s wonderful, isn’t it? But it’s enriched by the affirmation that like-minds and hearts are nonetheless always different minds and hearts (an affirmation which defines the difference between conversation and soliloquy).

IV.
It is not legitimate … in fact, it is totally illegitimate to reject, denigrate, and deny what we don’t like and wouldn’t choose for ourselves when others so obviously do like and would choose.

same affirmation rephrased:
It is not legitimate … in fact, it is totally illegitimate to focus on disagreements (as many as there may be—as important as they may be) and draw relational conclusions based on that, when there is a core affirmation (or affirmations) more important than any of the disagreements.

This our corporate worship, incorporating a variety of learning, musical, and so-called worship styles (not to mention individuals), teaches us—educating us as members of a community that we as individuals affirm what we don’t like and wouldn’t choose (and not just begrudgingly, but celebratively) for the sake of other members of our community who do like and would choose.

What about the integrity of legitimate and important differences? Does anything go? No. But the decision to in- and exclude must have less to do with style and more to do with substance.

V.
It is not legitimate … in fact, it is totally illegitimate to claim a story (particularly an alternative story to the story of our culture) but then not live into it.

This being in love with one person teaches us.

What about the truth that we live within the reality of competing stories? The one whose base assumptions we take for granted is the one we live into. We shouldn’t claim the others … except as escape or fantasy.

VI.
It is not legitimate … in fact, it is totally illegitimate to value and treat—to relate to some as more important than others (for whatever of any number of possibly proposed justifications) even though (especially since?) our culture makes so much of some few and so little of many others.

This the temporary inequalities (thank you, Letty Russell) of a well-functioning community of faith teach us—a community of faith which recognizes the variety of gifts dispersed throughout its membership, all vital to the whole, and facilitates different people stepping forward at different times to share of their particular gifts … and then stepping back.

What about people gifted in areas more obviously and consistently needed? The faith community needs to help such individuals share their gifts (obviously and consistently) while not claiming any prerogative while, at the same time, celebrating the most imperceptible and rare of contributions to the community.

VII.
It is not legitimate … in fact, it is totally illegitimate to present masks portraying what you think a situation calls for, which, in truth, hide the truth of who you are in favor of the front you think you can sell in order to motivate or manipulate.

This our sense of both God’s and our community of faith’s commitment to us in and through all circumstance teaches us.

What about when we’re transparently honest and our community of faith rejects us? That’s on them, not us (as long as we’re transparently honest with ourselves, as well).

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