Either-Or. Both-And.

I am so used to thinking in dichotomies and polarities: body and soul, day and night, up and down, close and open, darkness and light, the law and the Spirit. It does not help any that this dualistic frame of mind is deeply imbedded in computer-age thinking as binary logic. It is either-or thinking. One is either good or bad, asleep or awake, a ‘one’ or a ‘zero’.

But life is so much richer to be simply encapsulated into either-or thinking. Christ, with His promise of the fullness of life, thrived in both-and thinking. Can one be a master and yet be the servant of all? Yes, it is the only real way to love and serve our fellowmen. How can the last be first and the first, last? By being meek and humble of heart, by being poor in spirit, by carrying one’s cross daily, as Christ challenged us to do. Can a grown-up man be born again? Yes, through the working of the Holy Spirit. Can a man be dead and still be alive? Yes, in the resurrection of the dead.

Both-and thinking is inclusive, welcoming and open to all the richness and possibilities of life. Either-or thinking would dismiss as a paradox or contradiction, and therefore does not exist, what both-and thinking accepts as the reality and richness of life. We are not either good or bad. In reality, we are both good and bad. We are not either strong or weak. In fact, we are both strong and weak.

This reality becomes clearer to me when I remember Christ saying, “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” Teilhard de Chardin called this process Christogenesis, when and where creation all comes together and converges in point Omega, bringing us back to point Alpha with all creation in its original pristine and unsullied condition.

Holy is the Lord our God.
~ Psalm 99

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:17-19

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2 Responses to Either-Or. Both-And.

  1. Sig says:

    i suppose thats what existence is all about,,,,its all about Change, from one state to another, from dark to light, good or bad, Alpha and omega,,,,, but if we talk about our “nature” then we can say we are both matter and spirit,,,Dualism.

    • Maybe more than just matter and spirit. When I think about it, I am more than my body. I am more than my soul. I am more than my body and soul. Indeed, my whole being is greater than the sum of my parts.

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