Sunday, February 26, 2012

Either/Or – Both/And......

Maui Beach Time
Slowly turning the pages and absorbing as much as possible, the words of Richard Rohr in his latest book – "Falling Upward", spoke to me yesterday in this quote in Chapter 1 –

"Mature people are not either-or thinkers, but bathe in the ocean of both-and.  (Think Gandhi, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and the like.)  These enlightened people tend to grease the wheels of religious evolution.  As Albert Einstein said, "No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that caused it in the first place."  God moves humanity and religion forward by the regular appearance of such whole and holy people."

I find I've some thoughts on Rohr's quote.  I optimistically hope that black and white/either-or thinking is on the wane.  Yet, it's not gone completely and I expect there will always be those that believe there is only ONE right, ONE wrong and no grey room in between.  Knowing that fact, I occasionally find it unsettling to run up against those that insist there is only one right way to complete a task, to settle a disagreement, to bring up a child, to share one's love, to live one's life, to worship one's God.

Through my faith, I believe that there is a world of room in this world for both-and thoughts and lives - not only in the genius/martyrs/leaders that influence so many but in our day to day living.  I believe that God is a both-and creator, a both-and lover, a both-and judge.  A God who knows who I am, when I'm struggling, when I'm lazy, when I'm indignant for the wrong reason, when I'm too critical of another's actions – God BOTH knows me AND still loves me.  

I don't believe there is a great scorecard in eternity where I've marks for going against a black and white/either-or rule.  Rather, I believe that if I really try a good bit of the time and succeed at least once in a while by using the both-and guideline in my relationships rather than strict black and white rules, I will find a place for myself that will please God in a way other than just in a black and white/either-or rule way.

Perhaps this is what Rohr is aiming at introducing in his words and maybe my interpretation is just so logical as the nose on my face that I sound silly expounding upon it.  As might be the case, I agree with the writer so far so –of course– I'm enjoying his new book.  I wonder what others will have to say about it.

1 comment:

  1. The Lenten guide by Edward Hays suggests that we 'give up' ideas that limit us. The either/or mindset is certainly a rule that could go by the by.