Friday, August 24, 2012

One Restless Dude

We looked at a house today (in Corsicana), and I’m not sure why.  We don’t need a new house, and we aren’t looking to move, but we walked through a house today anyway. 

The house was big and interesting, and it was on 5 acres of land.  It had a pond on the back of the land that reminded me of the places that I used to fish at my Pawpaw’s ranch in Louisiana.  We brought the kids to look at the house too, and they ran all over that land like Melissa Gilbert during the opening credits of Little House on the Prairie

Who knows what will happen with the house?  Like I said, we’re really not in the market for a new home.  This was more like a field trip than a house hunt, but crazier things have happened, I suppose.  Maybe we had a momentary wild hair that caused us to long for a change of scenery.  Maybe every once in a while we just need to convince ourselves that the grass isn’t greener, and a good house viewing helps us appreciate what we already have.  Or maybe this is the initial breeze that will usher in the winds of change.  I don’t know, and the house really isn’t the point.

The point is that there’s a restlessness inside of me that comes out in some strange ways.  Sometimes it makes me want to look at a new house, and sometimes it makes me want to look at a new car, and sometimes it makes me want to take a road trip like the ones I used to take in college, when life was simpler and there were no responsibilities.  Often I’m so restless that I have trouble sleeping, and there are those occasions when I’m so restless that I get up at 2 a.m. and write stories about how restless I am. 

I ran into a friend at “Meet the Teacher Night” tonight, and told him that I was going to come by his office one day and kidnap him and take him out to this wonderful ranch so that we could fish and enjoy the wildlife.   He told me that it would have to be a “planned kidnapping.”  I thought, “That’s no fun.  What’s the point of going out to the great wide open if you have to plan it?  There’s nothing restless about that!”

So, whether it’s touring a home for the heck of it or sneaking out to a ranch on an unplanned adventure, my heart is restless.  I don’t know whether to be alarmed or excited by this uneasiness within me.  There are times when I wish it would go away, and there are other times when I cling to it like guns or religion.

Grant me peace within, Oh God.  Make me content in all things.

Henry Nouwen
Take my tired body, my confused mind, and my restless soul into your arms and give me rest, simple quiet rest.

John of the Cross, 1542-91
O blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in thee. Let thy mighty calmness reign in me; Rule me, O King of gentleness, King of peace. Give me control, great power of self-control, Control over my words, thoughts and actions. From all irritability, want of meekness, want of gentleness, dear Lord, deliver me. By thine own deep patience, give me patience. Make me in this and all things more and more like thee.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Legislating Morality

In the wake of president Obama's recent endorsement of gay marriage, I am hearing a lot of folks proclaim an old mantra that too many people on both sides of the political aisle have come to embrace.  The mantra goes something like this: "I don't mind people being religious... I'm religious!  But what I don't like is when people try to legislate morality.  That's just wrong."

My problem with this statement is that it's plain for me to see that all legislation has a moral underpinning.  Let's take a simple example like the law against speeding in a motor vehicle. This seems like a regulation that doesn't have any moral component whatsoever, but that is incorrect.  The foundational principal that upholds this law is that it is important to value the safety of others because life is precious, and because life is precious, it is immoral to legally allow people to drive at speeds that might jeapordize the safety of others.  So, even a simple driving law has moral roots, and is, in a very real way, legislating morality.

So, since pretty much any legal principle or law has at its base a moral component, it's difficult for me to understand why so many people think it's so wrong to "legislate morality".  Whether they realize it or not, when people say "It's wrong to legislate morality", what they're really saying is, "It's wrong to legislate."  I don't think it's wrong to legislate.

Which brings us to the real issue at hand.  It's not that people are against legislating morality, it's just that they are against people legislating a form of morality that isn't their own personal brand.  If you're gay, you don't want anyone legislating a form of morality that assumes that homosexuality is wrong.  If you're a Christian, you don't want anyone legislating a form of morality that tramples on Christian principles.  The question isn't "Should we legislate morality?", It's "Who's morality should we legislate?"

More to come!