I walk the middle path. It can be a lonely place to be. It can be a dangerous and frightening place to be, caught between two extremes at war with each other with verbal, spiritual and even sometimes physical shots being fired by both sides. But as a Christian who tries to follow the teachings and example of the Master Teacher it is where I am called to be, shining the light of God’s love.
So, what does walking the middle path mean for me? Well, it means being a Christian. It means not being an “Evangelical” or a “Progressive.” It means not being a Democrat or a Republican. It means not being “conservative” or “liberal.” It means believing that being “pro-life” does not end with the birth of a child. It means believing in protecting and caring for children once they are here. Protecting and respecting the lives of individuals with disabilities. Allowing and encouraging everyone to grace us with their gifts. And, finally, not playing God with end of life issues, either by extending life by artificial means or prematurely ending it.
Walking the middle path for me means believing that peace is not best achieved by war. It means believing that frightened citizens arming themselves too often ends in tragedy. It means seeing the Christ in everyone, no matter what they look like on the outside or where they came from.
The middle path demonstrates loving our neighbor, even when they seem unlovable (I struggle with this). It means recognizing that we are all in this life to help and care for each other and that life is not meant to be a huge competition with winners and losers and no middle. It means seeing justice not as vengeance or retribution, but rather doing what is right.
Do I always stay on the path Spirit has set out for me? No. I veer off course, first once direction, then another — right, left, forward, back and sometimes even up and down. If you could trace my spiritual footsteps it would be a mess. I allow myself to get pulled off course by fear, loneliness, old beliefs and anger. But no matter how far off path I may get I always have to come back to my true center. To that place where love, light, peace and justice exist.
And that friends is our calling. To live in the world but not of it. To rise above the hatred and confusion of our times. To rest in God and to shine our light. There is no brighter candle in the world than the one who, through it all, is able to live a life of peace through faith. That candle is found in the middle path where Christ still walks.