Tuesday, September 09, 2008

3 years gone...

I have not used this blog as a place for my thoughts in a very long time. I am not even sure I will be consistent with it this time around. It is sort of odd to look back over the old posts that are on here. Mainly because it seems to trace an old relationship from its happy start to bitter finish... I considered removing them, but they are good reminders of where I have been in the past. So- feel free to peruse them if you want, noticing the parts of me you recognize, and those that you don't recognize too- I am sure that I am not the same person I was even 3 years ago.

Tonight I had two reminders of how true that was. First I got stuck taking a bunch of quizzes that try and place you on the spectrum of political thought from communism to libertarianism etc.. I consistently came up as a social democrat, social liberal, or just plain socialist. Of course, these quizzes only go so far, which means the question of why you believe such and such on a particular issue is never addressed. I can see how my views would end up on that end of things, but my belief that government needs to be more active in taking care of the poor and outcast of society is based in my understanding of the bible's emphasis on such things rather than in a concept of equaling the playing field and eliminating oppression. Jesus tells us that the poor will always be with us, and that we must always love our neighbor. We need not expect to bring everything into harmony by our action, only that we share God's kingdom with all who need it.

The second thing which reminded me how much has changed was a short but fruitful discussion with my most recent (if 3 years ago is recent) ex-gf. We broke up in 2005 and for2 long years I harbored an unhealthy bitterness towards her. In fact, if the Richie of 2 years ago saw me say hello to her online tonight, he surely would have berated me for being insane. Thankfully the Lord brought some true reconciliation to that relationship about a year ago. Since then the bitterness has faded into nothing. Tonight we talked a bit about how different the political climate is between the midwest and california (her husband is from Mich.). I realized that along with my theological education, she was one of the major forces in my shift to the left. I am thankful that there was someone to challenge my assumptions and beliefs during that time. I remember some very heated discussions over issues such as the role of women in marriage and church. At the time I hadn't done enough research to have an opinion, but was wary of what I have come to know as the egalitarian view. Now, I feel so strongly in favor of women serving as leaders in the church as well as the need for an egalitarian approach to leadership within a marriage, that I will not even consider working or making my church home in a denomination that does not allow women to serve in the same capacity as men. -But that is for another time- My point is, that God has certainly been growing me and challenging me from many different angles.

I am now back in the greater Cincinnati area. The Richie who has returned here has so many different views than the one who left here. Whether family or friends, I recognize that most of them do not share my views, and that is ok. I need that voice of challenge now just as I had it before. This is what iron sharpening iron is all about. I may not like being backed into a corner on various issues, but it is the only real way that I am going to be able to evaluate where I actually stand on things. And I am assuming that I can do the same for them. I pray that in the course of this sharpening though- that the reminder of each others humanity, neighbor-ness, and need for christ-like love would be at the forefront. Other wise we move from sharpening one another to dulling and blunting one another until all we are useful for is beating each other up- and that is certainly not the best way to go about it at all!