The Extra Mile…

Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two” (Matt 5:41)

A lot of talk these days on De-con and Christian sites about how Christianity is not about becoming more moral than secular society…really? When did this become the concensus?

I think if someone is part of a faith and is not becoming a more ‘moral’ person then (a) they were prior to their committment to the faith and (b) taking secular standards and at the least re-evaluating them for the best moral codes – then I am not sure what the hell they are doing in a faith at all. Twidling the thumbs? Maybe playing Thumbsies? Or how’s about Thumb wrestling?  

Faith is supposed to make you challenge your personal societal paradigm and the societal norms of the secular society around you. Faith is about morality and ethics – and anyone that thinks otherwise has not read one of these faith ‘books’. (Note: I think Christianity is wrong to try and change societal laws – they should just live their values even if they are contrary to society’s standards – who says the standards are the same or to need to be the same?)

Look at my one example above – one simple sentence. Unbelievably this was a societal norm of the Roman occupation on Jewish territory – making people carry some of their stuff a mile for them (as obligated by law). Apparently – that’s a good standard – but you wanna know a better one? Go one more mile. Things change in that mile you’re not obligated to fulfill. Freedoms happen, minds are changed, friends are made, and people learn about one another.

And I am telling all Christians and De-Cons today this simple and same thing I see in that sentence – faith is about ‘going that extra mile’ and when it isn’t – then it’s not faith you have – it’s some country club.

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5 thoughts on “The Extra Mile…

  1. Christainity isn’t about morality… it’s about Ethics.. and there’s a difference here. Morality is a “code of conduct” which is a nice thing that religions have.. come to through experience and history.. but in Doug’s post about questioning everything, we can’t rely on those old answers.. we see the wisdom in them and move on from there..religion is a more questioning way of life than a rigid bunch of doctrines and dogmas.

    Christianity is about ethics and that means “the systematic philosophical study of the moral domain. Ethics seeks to address questions such as how a moral outcome can be achieved in a specific situation (applied ethics), how moral values should be determined (normative ethics), what morals people actually abide by (descriptive ethics), what the fundamental nature of ethics or morality is, including whether it has any objective justification (meta-ethics), and how moral capacity or moral agency develops and what its nature is (moral psychology).”(taken from my Media Ethics class).

    Morality has the answer. Ethics seeks and questions if the “answer” is applicable in all contexts, situations, and circumstances.

    so the ETHIC of walking one more mile has multiple meanings. in the socio-historic aspect, you hit the nail on the head. Romans could make the occupied citizens do whatever they wanted and often did for the sake of humiliation.. but if you kept on and stuck around after they were “through humilating you” then that ended up humilating them. it was an honor and shame society, and this showed that you had more honor and no shame. you can’t shame someone who hasn’t any.

    so in the end that passage talks, at least to me, about what it means to be openly vulnerable. it’s the thing that atheists and religious people try to avoid at all costs. no one wants to be vulnerable, it’s a ugly world and people can take advantage of you! but it’s not a zero-sum game. it’s about relationship. if you win, i win. if we’re tight, there can be no dehumanizing.

  2. “Christianity is about ethics and that means “the systematic philosophical study of the moral domain” (Luke)

    I am going to say I am totally concerned with ethics – all of the categories you mentioned (with coming up with the best morals) – but morality is at the heart of faith (which is interchangeable with ethics – being so closely tied). Ethics being the study of what is moral and morals being the paradigm one follows for their life.

    So here is base point of my concern – which is a moral ethics issue: An example of the problem:

    Some abortion doctors over the past 20 years have been gunned down by self proclaimed Christian murderers – who feel absolutely justified in that behavior. Now this is an ethics debate – but I am more concerned with how this person that killed the doctor thought they were ‘right/just/good’. They based their belief on some biblical justification (somewhere) that made them believe their action of ‘murder’ was ‘just’. What standard was this based on?

    Now that’s an extreme example – but Christianity is ethically not concerned with their personal outcomes anymore than that of someone secular. Many Christians would agree with that statement – they know they are not better morally then the person next to them with no religious adherence. If this is so, someone answer for me this puzzler….what’s the purpose of faith then? To feel ‘good’ about yourself? To socially belong to some country club? To ‘fit in’?

    This may be why faith is in dire straits – but why country club’s succeed (lol). Jesus asked a question in one of his parables about ‘finding faith on this earth’ – which has become a concern of mine – because I think faith as a way of living is fading in the West.

    If faith has it’s heart morality/ethics – and self admission is we are not more moral than secular society – then faith is lost. It has settled for one mile with the other – and calls that ‘love’ now.

  3. the Christian murderer is an extreme situation but it shows how people think.. it’s a zero-sum mindset (meaning if you lose, i win!) which is counter to what Jesus taught! This is a teleology mindset of the “ends justify the means” so if abortion is bad, then the doctors who perform them are bad too, so murder, although normally bad, is good when it gets rid of evil. i find this lacking! there are times when the ends justify the means, i’m not going to go total deantologist here, but i think it’s a firmer ground and truer to the gospels than a total teleology mix.

    but yeah.. i would say that Christians should be more concerned than their secular counterparts, but the problem is that many won’t say that they’re concerned with ethics or morals because of the Moral Majority and Christian Ethics movements which are largely right wing and these moderate and liberal christians don’t want to be “one of THOSE christians.” so they feel like they are stuck and therefore reacting to the politicized nature of these terms subconsciously.

  4. but yeah.. i would say that Christians should be more concerned than their secular counterparts, but the problem is that many won’t say that they’re concerned with ethics or morals because of the Moral Majority and Christian

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