Monday, January 31, 2011

The middle

I have been trying to make the time to post over the last few weeks. We had some ice and snow and were all snowed in for a few days, but since I work from home, it still seemed somewhat hectic and I never got around to blogging.

So here goes probably my third attempt of 2011. We'll see if I get around to posting it.

I am a fan of The Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde's band which put out three really solid albums in the 80's. And since I am also a fan on facebook, I occasionally see things that the Pretenders' fan page puts up. This weekend, they posted a link to their great song, "Show me," and memories of listening to them when I was in high school came flooding back. It prompted me to look up a bunch of their videos on YouTube. Wow, they were amazing live. One of their songs, from "Learning to Crawl" (which I probably wore out on the turntable) spoke to me - "Middle of the Road". Here are the lyrics:

I think it's brilliant. So many ways I feel like I'm in the middle. I'm in my 40's with kids - sorta the midpoint of life, and I can identify with having "my plans behind me," even if I'm not a big planner. I try to take a "middle road" in so many things - I don't want to be an extremist, I want to treat people of all stripes with grace and mercy. It's hard even to find the energy to take a stand verbally/in conversation, much less be an activist for an important cause.

But sometimes, you have to take a stand, at least in conversation if not with further action - "you see the darndest things" - people using others, trampling the weak and needy. The line that hits me in the face - "when you own a big chunk of the bloody third world, the babies just come with the scenery." Wow. I am afraid that I do own a big chunk of the bloody third world. I believe in systemic sin and my culpability in it. Not everyone does, but I just can't get past it. Maybe it's my bleeding heart, my naivete, my gullibility. But I am in so much comfort and my country is so wealthy. And we want to keep things that way, of course. But how do we do that and sleep at night when the very economies that support our wealth and comfort do so at the expense of vast swaths of humanity? I am under no illusions that I know all there is to know about economics and politics. But I do believe that our thirst for oil and economic prosperity results in all sorts of ethical compromises that hurt millions of people all over the world. Lord have mercy.

Don't get me wrong. I love my country and the ideals that we're always trumpeting, even if we don't live up to them very well. I don't "blame America first" as talk radio blowhards like to say. I do blame humanity first, though. We are not "basically good." We are basically fallen. Basically selfish. Basically want to be God ourselves. We want to do things our way, because we know best.

I want to trust God completely. I don't. But I want to. Lord help my unbelief. Lord help me let go of the things I cling to so tightly for security - my money, my job, my family, my marriage. Help me trust that those things are your gifts for me to enjoy, but not to worship.