When it comes to politics, I’m one of those guys who is hard to pin down. The same is true when it comes to faith and – more specifically – the way I understand what it means to live as a faithful follower of Jesus.
Fact is, I disagree with myself on a regular basis. It’s not so much that I’m wishy-washy, irresolute, or a flip-flopper, so much as it is that I’m thoughtful and reflective, and constantly aware of my own shortcomings when it comes to wisdom – or at least I try to be.
Every circumstance and decision happens in the context of a thousand different variables, all moving targets; and – for a thinking person, for a faithful person – nothing is ever quite so clear-cut as the commercials, or the speechwriters, or the pollsters, or the “I’m right you’re wrong”ers would have us believe.
So I change my mind; I argue with myself; I reverse my position; I read; I listen; I talk to people who hold opposing views; I pray; I make an about-face; I take a stand; I hesitate; I do my best to follow Jesus – I am often wrong.
When I think about issues that tend to be troubling, matters that call into question my own long held conventions, subjects that force me to reevaluate my own presumptions, and preconceptions, and – sometimes – prejudices, I try to remember that wonderful idea from 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” I try to remember that there are essentially two things that are fundamental:
- Live in selfless love with a kind and generous heart;
- Accept Christ’s invitation to live into a restored relationship with God.
Or, as Jesus so eloquently summed things up, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
And so, when faced with the challenge of good government and fair law, and the question of if we can worship together, it seems to me that it makes sense to apply a kind of Ockham’s Razor (Ockham’s Razor is the principle that, in trying to understand something, the most efficient route is to get all the unnecessary information out of the way).
We really do tend to burden ourselves – and (even more) other people, with so much that is unnecessary, and unnecessarily complex. When Jesus offered the two “greatest” commandments, it was God’s Razor, the Creator’s reaction to the absurd multiplication of rules and codes that had morphed the Ten Commandments God handed Moses into some 83,000 or more items of code and legislation!
“Follow me,” Jesus invites us. “And I have two rules. Love God with everything that you are, and extend that love to one-another.”
Enjoy a few images from the Maul Hall garden:
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.