CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter…
Where you start determines where you end.
If you start with the omnipotence of God, you end with predestination. God knows everything, so God knows if you’ll go to heaven or hell. If you start with the mercy of God, you end with universal salvation. If you start with the love of God, you end with free will, because love that is forced is not love but rape.
In politics, historically, in America, conservatives start with the individual and liberals start with society.
Traditional conservatives believe in original sin, that we are born with a tendency to selfishness. So to have a good society, individuals must learn to rein in their selfishness. That takes personal character, learning to resist greed and lust. Growing individuals into moral responsibility will make society good. You can’t have a moral society without moral individuals. Society, via government, cannot create citizens with good character, for character comes from within. I believe that. That’s why I am a conservative.
Traditional liberals believe in original sin, that we are born with a tendency to selfishness. Some individuals will learn to overcome their greed and lust, but others will not. So a civil society is required, with laws that require people to consider the needs of others as well as their own, regulations that keep the strong from exploiting the weak. I believe that. That’s why I am a liberal.
I start with Christ, who believes that the Kingdom of God, where God reigns, is possible on earth, as it is in heaven. That’s why I am a Christian.
Old people usually think that we are past the starting point, almost past the expiration date.
But: “It’s only too late if you don’t start now.” Barbara Sher
And: “You’re never too young or too old to give your life to Christ. After that, what else is there to do to get ready to die?” Paul Tournier
It’s never too late to get to the start, if the starting line is love.
“All we ask [in old age] is to be allowed to remain the authors of our own story.” Atul Gawande, Being Mortal, p. 140.