I would like everything to be clearcut, for life to have no ambiguities about it. For there to be a clear sense of what is right and wrong on every issue in this life. Instead we’re often placed with alternatives, neither one which is completely right, or sound. Perhaps two good alternatives, or the lesser of two evils. Often requiring careful judgment from us.
Of course we do well to start with scripture, it is scripture primera, that is scripture first. And to see life in terms of God’s revelation in it, of Jesus, and of the gospel of King Jesus. We wrestle through issues with that in view. Of course holding on to scripture, then tradition, reason and experience.
This is where in our society today, we don’t do well. We fail to listen to each other. Most battles are fought at a very superficial level, not really getting well into the issues. Oh yes, one side might go on and on with its take, not even considering the other’s view. I have been criticized for questioning assumptions, when I’ve said something like, “On the one hand this, but on the other hand that.”
I’m not suggesting we should be uncertain about what matters, what is central. In fact I think we would do much better if we dwelt more on those things, and would be a bit more humble and nebulous as to what we hold on many other matters. Those central axioms, such as loving God wholly, and our neighbor as ourselves, can actually help us to do much better in the other matters, even though we’re almost inevitably off in some way. Life goes on, and if we do it in love, we are much more apt to learn well along the way, and see better.
Realizing that our thinking is not foolproof can help us to lean more on God and less on our own understanding, with the promise that God will make straight our paths. That is the orientation we are to have, which we are to acquire.
Together in Jesus for the world.