Idealism and Reality

I can’t believe the month is almost over. Tempus really fidgets, as the Romans didn’t say.  In my “daze” only old people talked that way; nowadays even kids seem to notice.  Perhaps because we all live such busy and full lives, with travel, etc.  At any rate, if a person were not a Christian and had no conviction of the reality and endlessness of perfect life hereafter, I should think he (or she) would be a confirmed cynic, an awful criminal (getting all he could by any means), or a suicide (get it over with).  And, of course, there is a lot of each one nowadays, alas.  Which makes it hard for Christians to hang on (or let Christ hang on to them).

In that general connection, I think I said on a previous occasion that while Mom and I hope and pray that your relation to God and Christ may be the same as ours (and more), this does not mean that our particular life-style, in matters that are not absolute (say, marriage fidelity) does not have to be yours.  The husband-wife relationship and their joint one to society and the “world” is one that every family has to work out for itself.  My mother, for example, never drove a car, nor did your maternal grandmother.  Now “all” girls do, and with it has come a big change in their wifely role.  And that is just one smallish item.

And I hardly need say that this applies too to the particular denomination with which one expresses his faith and relationship to God and fellow Christians.  That too has changed in recent years, so that denominations which were once “miles” apart have come closer together, and others have parted company.  The organized structure must never be confused with the invisible Body of Christ; some people are in one but not the other, and vice versa.  One big thing some denominations have to learn better is that membership in a given congregation (even “good and regular”) is not to be regarded as possession of the New Life which marks the born-again member of Christ Himself.  In deciding what particular congregation or denomination a person wants to belong to, it isn’t always a matter of where one feels the most comfortable and thus receives/enjoys the most, but sometimes is a matter of where one is the most needed, to help keep or restore, strengthen and enliven.  Here again, we tend automatically to make such decisions on the basis of what do I want, what will I get out of this, what will it do for me.  (Which is why many marriages flounder; it can’t deliver what we want and expect.)

Maybe more on that later, especially for those of us who have high ideals, and big goals and expectations for ourselves and others.  In my boyhood I did a lot of reading.  In those days “literature” (fiction) was much more unrealistic, escapist, idealistic than today, in which everybody “lived happily ever after” and everything turned out OK in the end.  That served a good purpose of release from the realities of life which is the big reason why a person does read for a hobby – but it is not the best preparation for marriage and career if you know what I mean.  We all have feet of clay.

The discovery of that fact in ourselves and others can be a wholesome thing, however.  Why settle for silver when we can have gold, for human models when we can have God – not just as an example, but as our very existence!  Wow!

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