Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shades of Grey

If you are thinking this is a review on that popular novel of the summer, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Or maybe you won't be. This is not a book review however. I have not read that book, nor am I planning to.

Sometimes we hear truths that resonate within us. Anne Bogel's talk at the Influence Conference on the blacks and whites of the 20s morphing into the grey of the 30s was such a truth. A resonating truth.
Generally, the younger you are, the more you think you know. Topics and beliefs are very black and white. Convictions are held with conviction.

But as you grow just a bit older, and gain some literal grey in the hair area, you begin to see grey in other areas too. Things are not quite as cut and dried, black and white as they appeared in your late teens and 20s. There are two sides to every coin. And there are the edges too.

Dogmatic becomes a bit more pragmatic.

Is this wrong?

I might be termed a back sliding reprobate for saying this, but I don't think pragmatic is all that wrong. On a whole lot of subjects.

We need to be dogmatic where God is dogmatic. The 10 commandments are pretty dogmatic. They don't change on the winds of culture shifts. Killing is killing is wrong. As is coveting, worshipping idols, disobeying and disrespecting parents, stealing and adultery. Most cultures view some variation of these "social" wrongs as wrong. The "God" laws, for some reason seem to get a bit more leeway-culturally. I'm not saying that is right, I'm just stating what is.

We need to be pragmatic (dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations) where God is not dogmatic.

It is good to have convictions and standards. To know where you stand and to not be blown about with every shift of opinion. It is also good to hold our convictions a bit loosely, and with humility. We need to hold our convictions without judging others. Find the golden median.

And we need to realize that sometimes God changes our hearts and/or circumstances, and thus our convictions morph a bit. Sometimes it is because of growth in our Christian life. Or not growing. Whatever the reason, it isn't always a bad thing. Despite what some might say, convictions don't actually make you more godly or Christlike. Godliness is through reading and obeying Scripture. It is through the Holy Spirit changing us into Christ's image.

Areas such as dress. Women (and men) are to dress modestly. Exact parameters of modest vary from culture to culture. I am not talking about revealing clothes, with plunging everything, that leaves nothing to the imagination. But, for the most part, we need to use our own judgement on what is modest or not.

I grew up in a family that the girls exclusively wore skirts and dresses-for everything but gym class. I personally don't hold to that idea as being the only way for women to dress modestly. It is not a black and white area. There are many shades of grey.

So, you may ask, (or not), what exactly spurred on this shades of grey thought train, Barefoot Hippie Girl? Well, let me tell you.

An area that I am being pragmatic where many are dogmatic is immunizations. Many things have shaped my thoughts on this matter...

-I have heard horror story upon horror story of the evils of immunizations. Leading to Autism and the rest. (my goal is not to defend or oppose this line of thinking)

-I know people on both sides of the argument-vehemently for, and vehemently against.

-I hate needles. Who really wants poked? Not me.

-I am impatient and lazy-about some things. I don't want to regularly wait for hours in a doctor's waiting room in order to get pokes. Waste of time plus needles? Lose-lose.

-I have a friend who had a medical issue. She had to get white blood cell transfusions. After she was on her way to recovery, she needed to be re-immunized. They wanted her to wait a year. I figure if she needed to wait a year, I am not getting my less than a year old children immunized.

-I have a hard time getting over putting diseases in our bodies to fight disease. It just seems wrong. Counter-intuitive.

-Immunizations have eradicated a passel of deadly diseases here in the United States that are still prominent in Third World countries, where immunizations are not available as readily. I don't think chicken pox are deadly, but I do know that measles, mumps and rubella can be.

I actually got BMV well on his way to being immunized when he was little, and Freckles even got a batch of shots or two. But, couple my dislike of waiting in doctor's offices, with the desire to wait until my kids were over one before starting this immunization process, and my kids just ended up un-immunized.

Until September. Here comes the pragmatism. While I may prefer not to put that crap into my children's bodies, in the real world, it is necessary.

I have waited 10 years for BMV to get chicken pox. I have tried exposing him, to no avail. He is getting too old. I don't want him getting them as a teenager.

We are traveling to a Third World country next month. It would be foolish to go without being immunized. It might not even be allowed.

Again, what has been eradicated here, is rampant there. What if my child got sick and died, and I could have prevented it? By just a little bit of time and a few pokes.

So, I swallowed my pride, and my inhibitions, and headed to the health department-3 times in the past 3 months, probably spending over 4-1/2 hours there. With four kids. Feel the time just oozing out of the day...

I got boosters, BMV and Freckles finished up their schedules, and the girls got well on their way. As a matter of fact, we only have one more visit in May, and then we are done for a while.

Am I happy about it? Not necessarily. My kids don't like getting poked any more than I do. Their looks of betrayal the first visit broke my heart. I am supposed to protect them from pain, and there I was letting someone else hurt them. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

I made the choice to do every vaccine available, excepting the flu shot. The Heps. Chicken Pox. Tetanus. Polio. MMR.

I think it is the responsible thing based on what we are doing and where we are going.

Your convictions may never change. Mine really haven't-not since I was 19 or 20. But, are you willing for God to change your mind on something? Are you willing for God to change your convictions? Or have you drawn your line in the sand? Are you an "absolutely not!" person? Or are you seeking God's will daily for His path for you? Are you teachable?

Winston Churchill said, "I'd rather be right than consistent."

Mull over that and let me know what you think...