Disconnected thoughts on Christian moral decisionmaking, with something to frustrate everyone:
Should Christians be on the side of the protesters or on the side of the statues? Should Christians say “Black lives matter”?
If you’re a disciple of Jesus Christ, then the basic question in decision making is “What would Jesus do?” Right?
If you don’t know what Jesus would do, then you should pray and read the gospels. Pay special attention to what Jesus says and does. He is the model, the one you want to grow to be like. Notice how he treats people. Notice how he acts toward people who are in conflict with each other.
If you know what Jesus would do, then you should do what Jesus would do. If that seems too complicated, or simple, or not Democratic or Republican enough, or not patriotic, or cuckish, or not American … may I suggest you revisit the definition of “disciple”?
“But that’s too simple.” Although it may sound simplistic, this approach will NOT lead to simple, easy, quick black-and-white decisions.
Manicheanism (tip of the hat to the great Jon Weatherly) is a worldview that sees everything in simple, dualistic categories of good vs evil. This worldview simplifies decisionmaking.
The following are today’s affirmations of Manicheanism:
- Democrats are evil!
- Republicans are evil!
- The press is the enemy of the people!
- White people are all racists!
- All Muslims should be kicked out of our country!
- Whiteness is the enemy! Smash the patriarchy!
- Anyone who would vote for [insert your cause here] is evil!
(You shall know them by their absolutism and their exclamation points.)
Jesus very definitely believed in good and evil. He was a man of strong, consistent convictions. But he was never Manichean. He saw the people behind every conflict, their value to God.
And he took an eternal view of the roiling conflicts of his day. The conflicts in his day between collaborators with the Romans and the Judean resistance were bloodier and more furious than the conflicts of our time. Did Jesus get down onto that level? Did he endorse the Zealot candidate for the council, or put a #Herodian on his tweets?
Dylan has a great line in “Desolation Row”;
The Titanic sails at dawn; everyone is shouting ‘Which side are you on?’
If everyone is taking sides, maybe you should stay off the boat?