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Saturday, September 12

Today’s Readings: Proverbs 21:1-17; Matthew 21:23-32; Psalm 19

A few weeks ago, I was at a dinner party with friends when the topic of health care reform came up. And wouldn’t you know it, things got intense rather quickly. When I say intense, however, I should note that the intensity wasn’t manifested in the way you might think. That's because everyone there was basically on the same page: we all believed that there should be a sense of urgency in addressing the inadequacies of the current health care system. The intensity came, however, from a discussion of what approach should be taken to implement that change. There were those who felt like all the steps should be taken immediately. This meant demanding that the public option be included in the final legislation. There were those on the other side who felt like such an approach would doom current efforts. They felt that we should start a little slower and propose things that were doable given the political climate. What struck me about the conversation were the theological dimensions of the conversation that bubbled just below the surface. The leading proponent of the “all or nothing” approach was someone who believed humanity – left to its own devices – was capable of crafting the perfect legislation that would solve the problem. The leading proponent of the piecemeal approach believed that human beings aren’t themselves capable of perfection. Given the fact that their approach toward issues is laced with things like self-interest and the need for control, no approach that humans take will ever solve the problem. That’s why they were comfortable advocating for the piecemeal approach. I tend to gravitate toward the second camp. I believe that any human being’s approach toward an issue is inherently limited. That’s why today’s words from the psalmist resonated with me so deeply. “The revelation of God is whole,” the psalmist stated, “and pulls our life together… The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy” (Psalm 19:7 & 8 from The Message). Whenever I run into situations where I confront humanity’s limitations and start to feel overwhelmed, I remember the importance of remaining connected to the One who pulls our life together. That helps me relax. Perhaps there is a situation where you’ve been slow to recognize the limitations of humanity: a complex situation that you spent a great deal of time and energy trying to solve on your own. If that’s the case, I would encourage you to try something new. Step back and take some time to reconnect with God – the only one whose “revelation … is whole”. Til next time…

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