Ever wonder how we became a dualistic society? Do you know what I mean? Dualistic thinking assumes a universe where there are only two contrasting, mutually exclusive choices or realities. This thinking is either/or, bad/good, negative/positive, and has a powerful effect on our belief system and actions. Dualistic thinking blocks our progress and dumbs down our society. The simple fact is that almost every situation in America today seems to be presented with only a two-position solution. We became a dualistic society by allowing small-minded leaders to convince us that it had to be an all one or all the other option only. And then we doubled down on the dumbing down by parking our brain and continuing to select politicians with that worldview, and pastors with that mindset, or follow superstar entertainers with that perspective.
Why is that? What is it that drives this within us? We are a people that love a good story. And every good story requires a villain. You cannot have a villain without sides. It’s much like when you played red-rover as a kid at vacation bible school. Red-rover, red-rover, send Johnny right over. Before you played, you picked sides. Nobody ever thought about playing with four teams in a square. We love an us versus them world.
In politics it is essential in America. We need a villain. In our dualistic system, you get to pick sides. You get to say that I am either red or blue, elephant or donkey. If you dare think outside those lines, you might never be elected. Worse, your brain might never grow beyond only one of two solutions to the problems we face.
How about this; let us seek women and men with both character and competence to hold our elected offices, regardless of their party affiliation. Let us elect women and men with an urgent desire to seek heaven-sent wisdom, act on personal conviction, and display a backbone to do one thing – that which is honorable, decent, and courageous. It doesn’t have to be a dualistic perspective. To put it plainly…it doesn’t have to be a far wing liberal, or a far winged conservative. Our world is dying from a lack of leadership. It is under great stress from a lack of godly leaders.
How does that play out in the church? Well, if you don’t believe what we believe, then you are wrong and we of course are right. If you do not think the way we do, you are eliminated from our gathering, or worse, membership. If you are simply trying to determine truth, but lack our understanding, you are unworthy of our certainty. That doesn’t sound like the Jesus I follow. Jesus taught many great lessons, but when challenged on the one that matters most he put it in this order. 1) Love God, 2) Love others, and 3) Love others as you love yourself. If Christ is not in the proper priority in your life, then none of those most important essentials can happen. They cannot happen in you, and YOU ARE THE CHURCH!
I’ll bet that many of my readers grew up in dualistic minded churches. I sure did. I was preached at, not prepared to think deeply and determine a conviction. I am convinced that the “us versus them” theology is Satan’s greatest weapon against the church that Jesus formed.
Please hear me. I believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. I also believe that Jesus is far bigger, more compassionate, more worthy than our humanity can comprehend. I do not believe Jesus saw the world, or sees the world, as Him versus the rest of the world. I feel strongly that He saw and sees the world in a mess and offers a solution grounded in love. Yes, He is exclusive in that He is the way, the truth, and the life. But He is also wildly inclusive. His entire presence screams inclusion. Zacchaeus is a wonderful example. Despised by his countryman. Hated by his employer. A thief, liar, and scoundrel. And then Jesus…
Luke 19:5-9 (New Living Translation)
“When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”  Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.  But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.  Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”  Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today…”
Many of us think that Jesus should have clarified the political party of Zacchaeus before helping him. We might have wanted to grill him on his position on abortion, immigration, guns, or global warming. Then, once sides have been declared, we might offer assistance. More often than not, we might tell a pastor or social worker that some dude in a tree is looking for help, and you need to do something about that. But what if you are in the tree? You need more options than stay up there, or come down. Jesus offered a far better solution. Come down, let’s go to your house have dinner and a glass of wine and chat. There it is. Loving God, and loving others as we love our selves doesn’t happen in a vortex. It happens in relationship, and relationships do not happen when we draw human battle lines like political party and denominations.
There is much to learn and experience from losing our small-minded dualistic mentality. , including life’s two greatest commodities – Peace and Freedom!