What are your reactions to having to deal with “the ideal”, be it the ideal life, the ideal situation, the ideal mate, the ideal child, etc.? Is your reaction captured by one or more of these – dismay? hope? Cup half full? Cup half empty? Self condemnation? Resignation to “why try, since I will fail anyway?
There is a particular approach to life that impacts the way we handle the “ideal.” It is the “either – or” approach. Although popular in some circles, the “either-or” approach to life is not realistic, which is another way of saying that “either-or” doesn’t match reality. Yes, there are some cases where there are only opposites for choices, where it is either “A” or “non-A.” But, situations where the only options are two contradictory positions are rare indeed. Most of life is lived in “more or less”, or some of both.
The point I want to make is that in many, if not most, of life’s situations more is better and less is worse. I can’t have perfect health, but better health is preferable to poor health. I can’t know all things, but more knowledge is preferable to less knowledge. Humans can’t be perfectly just, but more justice is preferable to less justice.
Another example of fallaciously applying an “either-or” juxtaposition is in the case of the Old Testament and the New Testament. In reality, they are not in contradiction, but in complementation. And, it is our task to figure out how that complementation works.
During these days I am reading a book that gives much attention to this complementation. It is Scot McKnight’s The King Jesus Gospel: the original Good News revisited. McKnight makes a strong case that the Gospel is rooted in the Old Testament. I look forward to the rest of what he says beyond where I have gotten to this point.
What have been your experiences with the “either-or” or “more or less”?