Sunday, October 23, 2011

When It's Just Not So Black and White

I look at the title I just assigned to this entry and I laugh.

Is it ever black and white?

See, I'm one of those people who lives in the gray...who asks just one more question...who wants room to change her mind and doesn't feel like doing so requires an apology...who believes that there is a new understanding to be embraced just around the corner.

At some level I do understand that there is reward in black and white (at least for some people). There is reward in knowing (or thinking you know) something for making declarations without considering the thought that you are wrong. I get that that works for some people, but it doesn't work for me.

I listen to so many statements made by people of faith about families and I can't help but say it's not always black and white. You know the statements I'm talking about...

A woman's place is in the home. But what about the women I know who are gifted and called to vocations outside the home? What about the men I know who are gifted and called to work at home? What about families I know who are doing just great with two working parents.

The man is the head of the household. But what about families where the woman is the one gifted for spiritual leadership? And what about the reality that the first assignment of "head" to the man was given in Genesis as punishment for sin rather than the created ideal?

Gay people shouldn't be allowed to marry or have children. But what about the gay couples I know whose relationships are loving, compassionate, caring, generous, and forgiving? What about the straight couples I know whose relationships are full of hatred, laced with adultery, riddled with resentment? Why does having different body parts make a relationship okay even when nothing else about it is good? Why does having the same body parts make a relationship wrong even if it fulfills God's desires in every other way?

Children should be seen and not heard. Then why did Jesus call them? Why did he lift them up as examples for the receiving of the kingdom?

There are so many voices that would like people to believe that the downfall of our society (you did know we're in a downfall, right?) is due to: women working outside the home or gay relationships or children not knowing their place.

And yet I can't help but wonder if the most detrimental things in our society aren't hatred and fear. I can't help but wonder if maybe the answers aren't bound in neat packages where each family resembles the Cleavers (of Leave It to Beaver fame) but instead maybe the answers lie in love, in discernment, in discovering God's will for individuals, for families, in the sacred journey of discovering our true selves and respecting who God created us enough to become that person.


Carolyn Phillips said...

What a refreshing read.

I think we often stray away from love when we either think we have to be like 'xyz' or think that everyone else has to be like us...and we often do both at the same time.

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Jill, thanks for your honest response on my post today! To tell you the truth, it sounds very familiar. Believe me, you're not alone.

Take care.

Melissa said...

Thank you for living in the grey.