Saturday, June 02, 2007

Sometimes the center goes --- where?

Hmm... Notice the skid marks?


Anonymous said...

Been there done that. My skid marks are on the left.

Mark Harris said...

Sometimes you amaze even your greates fans...this is wonderful. Of course, I don't know what you mean etc, etc, wink wink, but it's priceless just the same.

One hopes the skid marks were not at the same time, indicating I suppose that the search for the center is a search for death in the fast lane.

The possibilities are endless.

Jeff H said...

I know this actual highway divide, and have been through there many times. It's east of my hometown, El Paso, TX.

Unknown said...

"Acting on Principles" is an interesting thing to consider. They can come from the most unexpected places.

I will be pleased to get in rather spirited conversations about those principles - but at least there are principles and they are often able to defend them on principle, which is what makes sitting around the these tables talking so much fun. People often feel very strongly about those principles and yes, sometimes Hagrid has to drop in and sort us all out.

In these darkening days (not dark yet, though - right?) however there are many who make decisions and forget those principles - though they may be the last to know it's happened. In fact, my bet is they would say that the decisions they make are based on those decisions, but when you see where they are headed - it's straight into the ditch and devil take the highroad (ever wondered where that cliche came from?).

I would argue that those give in to either "tinfoil hat" conspiracy theories to explain things or to yawing arrogance of keeping the status quo and power seats. or to self-righteous name calling and categorizing (tiny minority of the coalition of the unhappy springs to mind) if an effort not to move forward (as often is shouted about) but actually to keep everyone where where we are and maintain appearances (tea anyone?) .

It's quite possible to see these "middle ways" these "centers" (which sound so reasonable - who wants to be a radical? Who wants to be an extremist? Who wants to be a fantastic - we Americans loath those titles and so when they are pinned on any of us we either become speechless and slink off into the shadows or actually turn into the label - been watching a fascinating award-winning documentary on the Weathermen - shiver). Who wants to turn into that? Pass the crumpets.

There are people who are making decisions based on principle. Many are in the pews and not in the board rooms. They see hurting people who are marginalized and want them included - that's a decision based on principle. The next step though is how that is accomplished and often the next step is to find someone to blame. True?

There is always the capability of any of these principled folks to "take the middle way" and force everyone else into their lane (see photo to see how that will turn out). Sometimes the road divides and we have to make a decision which way we are going.

I saw this happen at General Convention when the progressives and the orthodox suddenly found themselves on the same side (briefly, very briefly) when the final B033 came up. Principle was thrown out the window and General Convention was presented with a "middle way" that ended up just as those in the left lane and the right lane said it would - in the mud. It was meant to keep the status quo and tea with the Queen. It wasn't meant to actually solve the problem and it didn't.

Sadly, and I mean this, the ones hurt most by B033 were those who trusted the TEC leadership that this would help them in the end. Perhaps that will still happen and September 30th will come and go and no one will know the difference. Don't think so, friends, don't think so.

And so we are left with the matter of trust - which is really at the heart of this tearing apart of the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church. Trust is based on principle - we have to be trust worthy. If we stop being trustworthy, then we've lost our principled footing and we are in the mud.

I just wish - I even pray - that instead of trying to force everyone back into the center lane, back into the middle huddle (with all it's sweet slogans that are anything but sweet underneath - Turkish Delight anyone?) - that we admit that the road is dividing and no one should be forced into the center lane that goes no where.

Dylan said that it wasn't left or right (and that would also mean middle or center) - there was only up and down (and down is very close to the ground). He was nearly crucified for saying that in front of the leftists in Washington DC (the first time of many), but Reagan later echoed that sentiment as well. He was able to put together an interesting band that included left and right and young and old and different faiths, income levels, and geography.

Vision has to do with looking up, after all.

Looking up is probably not a bad thing to be doing right now as we prepare for September 30. It will be those with vision - and I would say a vision on Jesus - that will get us back on the road and not in the ditch.

His solution to our problem will bring us together (who's to say that the road dividing now may not someday intersect again?). But it will be a long-view, not a short-view and not one consumed with the "middle road" and "central status quo." Sometimes fences do make good neighbors.

What do you think?


Kevin said...

I'd agree about Frost's fences.

The queer thing 'tis it works both ways.
Boundaries draw a line not just for one, but for two.

Aye, I have a personal tale of a carefree spirit.
One which most seemed charmed
and allow do as he pleased.
Often encourage his games
and nary any restraint.

I dare say a lesson of boundaries would have done good.
Fences to make good neighbors.

Alas, nothing to hem in and like a bull causing havoc.
Demands for tribute and never an once of duty.

Pity for it is command to be the servant of all says He,
yet when one demand to call benefactor,
it's time to leave.

Then across town not far enough,
Wonders seeking a special type of fellowship is he.
Blessing of bishops, clergy and vestry for neglect of the elect.
Then derelict of priest and director to add final insult.

"May the Lord bring the harshest judgment,"
said in huff, then pout and tussle.
Into a door of a priest and doctor,
'tis queer that he could not charm.
The very ones professional neglect had declared,
that he had a personality defect and did not qualify.
Was '01 or '02 when another bishop was found,
odd hailing odd St. Paul, Darien.
So young to remember the struggles of old.

A new life found and new community to grow.
Shall I be please to look back?
Oh but how some do desire to report.
Strange that they be the first to exhort,
"Not a member no more, no good to remark."
Oddly truism in their game, bait then reproach.

Yet, on a new path I am.
The old a part of me can not be taken away,
but not who I am today.
Principle I did stand, where even bishops, clergy and vestry caved.
The cost not always cheerfully born,
but paid them as other did not.
Yes it is a shame but easy shall never stand.

This tale I share,
you seem to look the where you once were.
No long 'tis yours to fret and worry,
what happen next September
the vote was last December.

This I will concur,
"Good fence to make good neighbors"