I can remember the first time I heard the phrase “Both/And” in a religious setting. I was huddled among moderate Baptists with whom I had engaged in a Coaching practice. It seemed they had moved off “center” from their previous “either/or” approach to Biblical reasoning. Was this the beginning of enlightenment or evidence of the cautions offered in the New Testament Book of Jude?
As I daily ruminate on my ultra-conservative, even Pentecostal up-bringing, I am equally rattled by where my right-of-center friends have gone in this present election season. I cannot believe the faulty reasoning being leveraged to justify voters more fearful of a Clinton Presidency than the global possibilities of a man with little evident character or predictable morals. It seems that our faith is more grounded in the Supreme Court than the Supreme Being!
Compound that with the fact that the historically stabilizing forces in America, the institutional church and the concept of inalienable rights, are also eroding. Civil Rights issues loom large, legitimized by the visual transparency and immediacy of often undeniable information provided through social media.
Then there is the oncoming train of scientific evidence that challenges the bedrock of our religious brotherhood, Creation Theory, while yet on the other hand, reinforces the idea that we are one! Jesus sought after that same understanding and received a death sentence by crucifixion.
“In the journal Nature, three separate teams of geneticists survey DNA collected from cultures around the globe, many for the first time, and conclude that all non-Africans today trace their ancestry to a single population emerging from Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.
“I think all three studies are basically saying the same thing,” said Joshua M. Akey of the University of Washington, who wrote a commentary accompanying the new work. “We know there were multiple dispersals out of Africa, but we can trace our ancestry back to a single one.”1
I find it ironic that religion and science both agree and disagree though equally refusing to offer middle ground. Fear seems to mount as the evidence of evolution challenges religion’s simple creation story; meanwhile culture seems to fulfill the scriptural prophecies which so aptly describe these “last days”. Paul’s second letter to Timothy offers this description: “For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.” (NLT).
How does one reconcile his/herself in this mounting tension, maintain a love that casts out all fear, honors one’s neighbor, hopes for freedom, distains war, respects Civil Rights and shares life’s spoils in the midst of a greedy society? For me it is my personal faith.
I find my assurance anchored in an undeniable grace filled journey with God, the God who is love. Had I not experienced this unmerited favor, witnessed the “Hand of the Lord” so evident in my life physically, financially and within my home, I would have great difficulty at this moment in time given my personal failures and my “deep in the trenches” experience with both church and state. All this faith is bounded by an information bank of 53 years of scriptural pursuit, scientific study and leadership theory.
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever!” (NIV)