Cyprian (200-258 CE) was considered one of the pre-eminent writers of Western Christianity in his day. He once wrote, “It is a bad world, an incredibly bad world…” And so it seems this morning as I ponder the events of the last several weeks. “It is a bad world, an incredibly bad world.” History tells us Cyprian had it right. Well, almost right! For in spite of all the “bad” there is in the midst of it “good!” History tells us that too. There once lived a Nero and there once lived a St. Francis of Assisi. There was a Hitler and there was an Albert Schweitzer. Always, we must use what Elton Trueblood called the “holy conjunction”—It is a bad world AND it is a good world. It is BOTH a good world and a bad world. Without the use of the holy conjunctions our world becomes an “either/or.” Either it is a bad world or it is a good world. We must use AND and BOTH if we want to survive mentally and spiritually. The “either/or” approach will do us in for it is a crucifixion of our intellect!
We can see this “either/or mentality” clearly in our own lives where “either/or” often reigns supreme as in “us or them.” “The world is a dangerous place to live,” said Albert Einstein, “not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” We are part of “the people who don’t do anything about it” when we fail to use those “holy conjunctions.” If we could begin to think in terms of “both us and them” we just might be able to experience and produce a resurrection of our intellect.
|The Star Gazer Lily blooms and gives me hope!|
The darkest times in our history have been those times when “people” didn’t do anything about what was happening around them, when they let their intellect, their minds, be crucified by their silence and apathy, or allowed the “either/or” mentality in others to go unchecked. Bertrand Russell wrote, “The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” That doubt can lead us into deep trouble and, indeed, it is doing so now. Let us not permit the crucifixion of the intellect in ourselves or in others. Think, don’t just swallow whatever comes along. “Either/or” is the product of a “closed mind” or a dead one! The open mind is one that thinks—not either/or—but both/and. The world is a tough place but it is the only place we have. It is both bad and good! It can get better if we use our heads!