I have been blessed to work with the most intelligent & highly creative staff within the social service field, ever! Recently, while building racks in our offices, we found ourselves at a crossroad: would we have four or five shelves per rack? As the discussion went back-and-forth and the tension mounted on this oh so critical of a matter, one of our staff members resolved to end the standoff. “We must come to a conclusion! Everyone choose a side!” she demanded. At that point, another staff, sitting quietly on the floor, hammer in hand, softly retorted, “Why do we have to have sides? Let’s just be a circle.” I chuckled under my breath. The memory of that episode arose during my evening prayer time last week. I again chuckled and began pondering before the Lord, “Why can’t we just be circles?”
Several of my friends call themselves “enlightened.” They boast in their cleverness and their ability to nuance the greatest of matters. For all intent and purpose, those friends believe that they truly live life as a “circle.” “Ed,” you may be asking, “What is a ‘circle-life?’”
Folks who believe they live life as a “circle” are the ones who accept every person’s point-of-view as valid and without much critical consideration. In an effort not to offend any person or action (or rather fear of offending), they have bought into pop-psychology & social relativism’s notion that as long as your lifestyle does not “bump up” against mine, then everything is just fine & tolerable. While a circle-life may sound reasonable and ideal, the fact is it is both impossible and dangerous.
Impossible, because as Sartre is credited as writing, “We are the sum total of our experiences,” and thus, we all have deeply ingrained biases that directly affect our worldviews. We are also born with an “Adamic” nature that has a natural bent towards self-indulgence & hedonism. People want to believe that we are able to ascend above our biases and nature and somehow “judge neutrally,” but truly our biases remain an integral part of our life and nature. It takes a literal “act of God” for our nature to be transformed from a nature of sin & death (Adamic) to one of salvation & life (Redeemed).
Dangerous, because living a circle-life removes any grid for “good and evil.” The one who lives a circle-life must, by definition, be ultra-tolerant and thus, good and evil becomes as art- “in the eye of the beholder.” When a society has been convinced that a circle-life is a preferred way of living, the definition of good and evil is defined, implemented, and enforced by the powerbrokers and results in “moral excellence” being distilled to the lowest common denominator of said powerbrokers (see Nazi Germany).
For a society to function in a healthy and vibrant manner it must have a fixed barometer of good and evil grounded outside of it. Whether a person believes in The One who inspired The Bible or not, one cannot deny the profundity, worth, and moral excellence found within the Bible’s pages. Certainly some who are reading this article will attempt to discredit the moral excellence of The Bible by dredging up false accusations such as the Bible advocates slavery or represses women. Those who espouse such nonsense are either intentionally being deceptive or are completely ignorant to Biblical reality. The simple truth is that of all literature in human existence, The Bible provides the greatest blueprint for individual living and societal norms.
In the Old Testament, the Prophet Elijah challenged the people to cease “wavering between two positions” (1Kings 18). Jesus echoed that reality when He told us that we cannot “serve two masters” (Matthew 6). Heeding the intent of these historical events is crucial for the times in which we live. In both episodes the people had rejected moral excellence as established by Yahweh. The powerbrokers had turned society towards a life of self-indulgence, debauchery, and a disregard for justice. People began to call good “evil” and evil “good;” not unlike what is happening around us today. The more we choose a side based upon human nature and not Divine Nature, the more our choices lead to our detriment.
It matters not the topic or issue. Every person will have a natural tendency to “choose a side.” It is naïve to think that one is able to remain neutral. One may be numb or lazy and take no action, but all will have a bias for one way or the other. Even those who pride themselves as having a “third-way” are nonetheless determining that way based upon personal bias. Ergo, the more important issue for the salvation of the individual and the betterment of society isn’t “can we be a circle,” rather the defining question is “from where shall we draw our moral excellence on which to choose a side?”
So, to the disappointment of my friend and coworker, I have to express that there is no possible way for us or society to be a circle and it is dangerous to desire such. Yet, ironically, there is a circle to consider. Way back in 1907, Ada Habershon & Charles Gabriel penned a song titled “Will the Circle be Unbroken.” The song reminds us that if we have Bible believing, Jesus loving family members who have died, then we will see them again if we, too, are Bible believing, Jesus loving folks. That is one circle that you do not want to neglect –
There are loved ones in the glory
Whose dear forms you often miss.
When you close your earthly story,
Will you join them in their bliss?
Will the circle be unbroken
By and by, by and by?
Is a better home awaiting
In the sky, in the sky?