Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's correct- no matter how wrong it is

The Associated Press offered me some amusement today as I read about GA's water troubles. Apparently my home state has a "generations-old claim that its territory ought to extend about a mile farther north than it does and reach into the Tennessee — a river with about 15 times greater flow than the one Atlanta depends on for its water." I will cut out the fat and quote some of the other pertinent statements slightly out of context:
If Tennessee's southern border were the 35th parallel — as Congress designated in 1796 —Georgia would have a share of the Tennessee River...

"It's never too late to right a wrong," said Georgia state Sen. David Shafer, whose bill would create a boundary line commission that aims to resolve the dispute...

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen's reaction: "This is a joke, right?"
...Just in case, he added, "We will protect our borders here in Tennessee.

Several neighbors from a border community gathered to vent about the Georgia proposal..."That would be ridiculous. I'd have to move my phone line and everything," said Joe Dugger, a 63-year-old Tennessean.

"It's correct — no matter how wrong it is," surveyor Bart Crattle said.

Now that last statement struck me as being really messed up! What kind of logic is that? That seems to be the same kind of logic organizations/parties in power/certain races/genders/churches/nations use to keep things status quo. I have seen a lot of really bad behavior by people in power--people in authority who perhaps didn't understand that their position was one of service and care after the model of Jesus, and not one of control. Under their leadership real people (i.e. church members, employees, minority groups, etc.) are hurt. How do you treat people in an evil way and say, "it's correct--no matter how wrong it is?" Correct to whom and how did it become correct? I suspect it's the same in many industries and professions. People are forced to toe the line of correctness (no matter how wrong it is) or risk losing face or even their job. This makes some kind of twisted sense in a competitive society that depends on marketing to stay on top and spin doctors to alter perception. But where does that fit in the church? I often think of a verse where James says, "...Brethren, these things ought not be." There is another way of living (and leading) that is contrary to grasping for power and control. The way of the kingdom is the way of love. How does the way of love work to tip the scales away from correctness and toward what's right--no matter how hard it is?
Kathy has written a great post about individually standing up against oppression and injustice because we are connected to the rest of humanity and to their oppression.

It seems to me that there are also some micro steps toward tipping the scales that go under the radar, but make a lasting difference. Some of them start with our willingness to be inconvenienced. Like the Tennessee man quoted in the article about the state boundary, we might have to "move our phone line and everything!" That made me chuckle, but how true to life when a big issue comes down to how it affects me and my lifestyle. What are some micro steps that you think are part of the way of love? How has someone else's micro step affected you?


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