Monday, November 20, 2006

What price validity?

Consider these questions:

Do the ends justify the means? If the results are not what you expected (or wanted), does it follow that what led up to them was a waste of time? I'm asking these questions (always) in the larger context of the teachings of Jesus, but I'm also asking them here and now in the context of my life in community.

Depending on how I spin the question here, most always the pat answer will be "No." (or maybe even "No, of course not, silly." What I loved about you last week is not negated because you've disappointed me today. Are you sure about that?

Jesus preached a radical ministry: Turn the other cheek. Return compassion for hatred. Love your enemies. That he died on a cross like a common criminal had to have had an effect on those who were following him, especially those still in discernment about whether he might be the next King of Israel. Okay, he's dead. Nice thoughts, but scratch those teachings. Until he rose. Aha! We knew it. We knew it all along.

I don't think so. Plenty of people never believed he actually rose from the dead, even those who believed in his message. Just a plot cooked up by the disciples to keep the movement going, some said. On the other hand, others who bought the resurrection story, took everything Jesus had said (and done) in a new light. He wasn't some crazy crackpot afterall, He was the son of God.

So my point is... the results do matter, no matter how much we protest that thay don't. And... it rankles that we insist on reassuring ourselves and each other that we are above all that. We describe results in poetic language and make distinctions between earthly success vs. heavenly success. But we want results, whether here or there.

I have a suspician that God is above all that, and we know it intuitively, much as we don't understand it, approve of it, or want it.


merryn said...

I'm not sure that there are any definite answers. Maybe results do matter - but I don't think that it necessarily follows that the ends justify the means. Sometimes the process is more important than the outcome. The really tough question for me is - how do we know?

(Ok, can you tell I'm a Libra?)

Rlamb said...

I believe that there are two things going on here. The "end" and the "means". Truly they can be seperate and you have individuals who follow each school of thought. Which ever one is more comfortable for them.
The "means". It is a road traveled and how you choose to travel that road is important. Jesus had a lot of "means" during his ministry but the "end" was always there and His final glory. Thats all time I have for now, but the end is already answere for those who accept Jesus.