Binary or Not? 
Thursday, October 13, 2011, 06:00 PM - Extra Christy
The Space Between Always and Never

I fix computers to relax. They are like puzzles for me. Folks know this and bring me their computers to put back together.

The latest wounded beast was a laptop that had visited before. I had set it to ask, "Do You Want to Allow...?" before a user (or a virus!) made a change. The owner knew if the little Robot icon popped up, she needed to consider if she wanted to make this change, or if it was a rogue website or malicious software trying to worm its way into her system.

She brought me the beast because the robot urging reflection had been replaced by a flat out refusal! No options, no consideration allowed, just a no. She couldn't even change the time on her computer much less install a new program.

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Like most computer conundrums, a little change fixed the problem. However making the small change was involved. You see, it was easy to set the computer to NEVER allow changes and a simple matter to set it to ALWAYS allow changes...but to ask if changes were acceptable...that took some research.

Religion has the same dynamic. It is easier to set up a binary system, ALWAYS or NEVER with nothing in-between. In fact you can find folks who measure their righteousness by how many NEVERS and ALWAYS they can quote and strive to obey. I think some compare and trade DOS and DON'TS like they were spiritual power-up cards. (Even though such card games are often on NEVER lists.)

Setting our computer or ourselves to be mindful of what we are doing, is more difficult. Neither blindly going along with whatever a rogue person or program wants to do with us nor closing ourselves off to all possibilities of change (upgrade?) is a way of faith that involves a person's whole being: heart, soul, mind and strength.

Perhaps that is why Jesus popped up in history, not to restrict or permit, but to call us to this a change you will allow?

Considering Or Not

Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said. And they came and said to him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?' But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, ‘Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.' And they brought one. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?' They answered, ‘The emperor's.' Jesus said to them, ‘Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's.' And they were utterly amazed at him. - Mark 12:13-17

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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