Developing Our Christian Ethic: Breaking Free From the Norm.

Kodiak_Island_bisonAt the core of what we do here at The Echo Life is our Christian ethic. We would not be promoting a holistic Christian life if we merely saw it as a good idea. No. The reason we preach what we preach is because we feel an ethical sense of duty to promote Christianity as a faith that speaks to the deepest areas of our life. More to the point, we see our faith as something that penetrates every area of life, from the extraordinary to the most ordinary. We have to be able to open our hearts and our faith to the reality that Christianity is bigger than we often allow it to be. For the Christian, it should be everything, but we have often used it only when we think we need it, only when we think our morality needs to be introduced to the situation. In everything else, we simply follow the heard.

 Everyone grows up into his or her own norm. The basis for normal begins with the family and extends out to the local society, then to the national society, and finally, now more than ever before, out to the global society. It is the norm, not because the idea of normal is intrinsically in place. It is normal, because it is all we know. When viewed in small scale, we can see the dangers of finding certain norms to be acceptable. For example, when a child grows up in an abusive household, he or she often exhibits abusive traits when he or she begins his or her own family. We see this often, and just as often, we condemn such norms. We set up programs and the like to try and combat such patterns. We call out to those within and ask them to open their eyes to the truth, but are we willing to listen ourselves.

While we can and often see abuse for what it is in small scalel, many persons have difficulty ever noticing any sort of abuse or wrongheadedness on the larger scale. It is more difficult to see that there might be things that our society at large is doing wrongly. Perhaps the root of the issue is the same for both the familial and national levels (or small and large scales, to be more general). The child who learns abuse in the home has difficulty seeing the issue objectively, because he or she is in it. Outsiders have better perspective. When we see Americans being Americans, we seldom note any issues, because we ourselves are American, and this would be true for anyone of any society.

In fact, we are very adept to note the problems of other societies. Now, take a deep breath. I am sure many who read this are already gearing up to find themselves insulted by whatever stance I take on whatever issue I have in mind that Americans get wrong. I promise I have no agenda here, other than having us admit that we might be a little biased to our own way of life. If we can, at very least, see that prejudice might be an issue that all humans have difficulty with, not because of any malice, but because we have a hard time objectively analyzing what we find to be the norm, then, perhaps this realization can be a starting point for improvement, for real introspection, for ethical development.

We have to come to grips that we live in the real world, and it won’t be perfect. We will find real fault with at least some things that our societies do as a normal part of life. However, as Christians being provided sanctifying grace, we do not have to accept the fact that we cannot move towards perfection more and more each day, but when we do not recognize need for improvement in the first place, we will forever have the door shut to His sanctifying grace, which He wishes to use to improve all areas of our life.

Why is it so difficult for some in the church to admit that a Christian is a Christian? As Christians, there should be no area of life in which we do not act as Christians. Whether it is eating, sleeping, laughing, voting, worshiping, whether it is mundane or extraordinary, we should be Christian. Anything less is falling short. No one should compromise this life by compartmentalizing life, as if there are some areas in which I have to think things through and others in which I do not. We have to be aware of what we do. We cannot do things the way they have always been done because that is the way they have been done. We have to ask ourselves, do we do it right? As we have said before:

Are we wholly caught up in the pervasive culture around us, or are we committed to our own story as Christian people called out to live set apart lives as a testimony to God and His Kingdom…Can we say we are not “of” the world when we are completely dependent on popular consensus when we make our decisions about how we are to eat, to sleep, to move, to work, to commune, to interact as a family unit, the list goes on?  (Let’s Experiment With Our Theology)

For now, I am not going to point out what I see as wrong with the way we do certain things. As a writer for this blog, it is my focus to try and point out how we can better ourselves as stewards of our own health, but for now, I will leave this as a broad calling to inspect life as a whole. As you go throughout your day, ask yourself, “Have I ever asked myself if this or that is the best I can do as a Christian?” Whether it is how you eat, how you shop, how you work, the list goes on, inspect your whole life and ask yourself if it glorifies God.

You might finally decide that some things are amoral, like eating with a fork or chopsticks, and you would be right, but then again you might find certain norms in need of reform (and while my agenda is not to focus on any one area, for sake of example, let me provide the following.) For example, the rate at which we dispose of “excess” food is, in my ethical opinion, deplorable, some 33 million pounds per year. This begins with how we manufacture food, on to how we shop, then to how we prepare food and store food, and finally to how we eat. Areas in which we have never imported ethical thought, desperately need our attention.

Are you open to reflection and change?

-TM

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jkbrooks85/6692391417/

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