Sunday, June 6, 2010

Avoiding extremes

I think a great challenge in life is to avoid extreme positions: to keep a balanced perspective on subtle and complex issues.

Yesterday, my son and I read and discussed the chapter, Two notes, in Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, where he makes two qualifications or clarifications about the previous chapter on free will and being transformed into the likeness of Christ.
In the second note he discusses the balance between affirming individuality and corporality in the church.
I found the following passage interesting because of the general caution at the end.
Christianity thinks of human individuals not as mere members of a group or items in a list, but as organs in a body different from one another and each contributing what no other could. .... But a Christian must not be either a Totalitarian or an Individualist.

I feel a strong desire to tell you - and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me-which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs-pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.

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