October 24, 2003

Be Not Afraid

Mark of Minute Particulars offers his typically fresh perspective in this post. Regardless of the merits of his argument*, I found it vaguely inspiring that anyone would even make such a point in era when marriage as "the two become one flesh" has become so devauled. So I'm reading his post more broadly and not contra-Terri, but pro-marriage:
If we enter a marriage freely and appropriately (at least in the context of the Sacrament of Marriage), then prenuptial agreements or any kind of arrangement that anticipates malice from a spouse would be abhorrent to the giving of oneself completely to another. When you get married, you ought to, as the cliché goes, "work without a net.".... If we are too quick to lump the actions between husband and wife in among actions between friends, acquaintances, and strangers, we might indeed save more lives. But I wonder if our ability to see the depths and magnificence of our dignity as human beings would be diminished or even obscured by this?
I'm interested in this notion of safety nets. In the political sphere, welfare is 'safety net' writ large. It is (or was) often not so much a safety net but a safety harness, locking families into generational dependence. What is it about safety that is so damaging to the human soul that multiple generations would suck at its ennervating teat?

I'm not suggesting that there shouldn't be gov't safety nets nor that folks on welfare have it easy. And I'm guilty of sucking at ennervating safety teats. Folks in corporations, for example, often trade safety for the adventure of sole proprietorships. (Of course, it's easy for me to say that - I sense this is one of those situations where both sides look longingly at their neighbor's grass.)

Safety Second?
Can this be applied to the spiritual sphere? Were the Pharisee's corrupted by the "safety net" of the Law, which gave them a seeming risk-free existence salvation-wise? Did it make them risk-adverse in accepting a different-than-expected Messiah? Did they "ghetto-ize" themselves too much in a desire to avoid sin but fail to love?

A conservative temperament like mine tends toward risk-aversion. But it seems as though tolerance for risk ought to be higher for the Christian, higher because of trust in God and higher because love covers a multitude of sins.

* -- Personally I'm a complete "Vatican toady" on the issue. I don't want to live one minute longer than my Papa bishop says I have to, nor one minute shorter. I've not blogged about Terri because everyone else is doing it so well and - it's a cliche but true - I have nothing to add. My reaction to what almost happened to Terri was horror but I'm neither a medical professional like Peony nor a theologian like Tom of Disputations which inclines me to simply 'let others marshall arguments, evidence and hash and re-hash it and then I'll come in at the end and read the results.

No comments: