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Searching For Relevance

"It's All Relative"

March 9, 2018




Can you believe how cold it is outside?  It’s March and the temperature is fifty degrees.  It’s so cold, I saw someone walking the beach wearing long pants, a sweatshirt, and . . . what appeared to be a down vest!!!  Which goes to show how really cold it is here, in St. Pete, Florida!!!!!!


Of course, I’m saying this with “tongue in cheek,” but it illustrates how subjective and relative life is.  As they say, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”  And as I write this, I’m sure folks in New England  would gladly trade my “cold” for theirs.   Soooooooo . . . . if we recognized this truth on a daily, simple, personal, variable level like the weather, why can we not apply it to how we live together?  I mean, generalizations and universal applications of laws, doctrines, etc. just don’t make sense.  Yes, everyone seeks what they perceive to be the truth, but even that changes as scientific discoveries are made, archaeologists uncover new discoveries, and divergent cultures and demographics require alternative ways of thinking.


It seems to me that many of the issues that divide us these days fall into this category as people  believe their “truth” is “the” truth, across the board!  “If only everyone thought like me, how great the world would be!”  Really?  There is no way to place the norms by which I grew up in rural Nebraska, beside those raised in Boston or New York or Chicago.  Nothing is the same!  Lifestyles, experiences, needs, as well as specific fears are different.  NOT because people are different, but because their environment places different demands, benefits, and threats into their part of the world.  If there is a universal truth, it is it!  Still, the one thing we all do agree on, and could rally around is, that despite our differences, almost unanimously, people desire safety, health, wholeness, and peace.  So, why don’t we agree on what we can, in order to begin our journey forward from there?


It was educator, preacher, speaker, and author Leonard Sweet who wrote, “We must choose between living in relationship and being right!”  Years before, during the height of the Viet Name war and civil rights demonstrations, the band, Crosby, Stills, and Nash sang, “Nobody’s right, if everybody’s wrong!”  And in a land as broad, big, bountiful, and diverse as ours, that cannot deny its existence in a world that multiplies this reality exponentially, open minds, honest conversation, respect of divergent opinions, and the willingness to walk in each others shoes is more than important, it is critical!  Perhaps, this is why Jesus told his followers that wherever two or three are gathered, his spirit (which he once called “truth”) would be present.”  


Any team that achieves victory, does so because of the cooperation and commitment to the one goal of success, does so because all the players are involved.  No orchestra can perform the complicated concertos of the great composers without the sound of many different instrument and a cooperative effort.  Both of which require practice and discipline!  And it is the many unique cuts and angles of a diamond that creates its beauty and value.  


It’s really not that difficult to see!  It’s really not an approach to living that hard to understand!  So why are we so resistant to living it?


In Christ,


Rev. Dr. Keith A. Haemmelmann