God help us, we need more Third Ways

misdirection-bigI just read a C.S Lewis quote that suggests evil always sends error into the world in opposing pairs.

The ploy is to get us to focus on choosing between the two options, with no common ground or alternative – Clinton/Trump, left/right, Black Lives Matter/All lives Matter, immigration/no immigration, guns/no guns – the list goes on. In the end we are always left with exclusionary choices, when it is inclusion and embrace we so desperately require. The trick, Lewis suggests, is to steer a course between the two and to find the higher or better way, or maybe even the best way.

We live in a time when we are fed numerous bogus and destructive choices which keep us distracted and unfocused, unable or unprepared to seek out fresh solutions to deeply rooted social issues. I don’t believe it is always intentional. But intentionally duped or not, like the victims of a magician’s misdirection, we’re looking in the wrong places for our answers and solutions.

Watching our current leaders, both secular and faith-based, cluster in camps and hammer away at each other saddens me. The manufacturing and enforcing of divisions is the very opposite of the unity we so desperately require. Perhaps at no other time in North America have we so needed our best thinkers to find and place before us new options for how we live, engage each other and lead.

We as a people, must refuse to buy into the divisions offered us by so-called, often self-appointed leaders: we must out-think the retailers of binary options which are currently being put before us in so many highly-charged realms.

Imagine the amazing progress that could be won if a new generation of thinkers could listen to and maybe even hear the genuine grievances of others. Might that be the fertile soil out of which new options are discovered?

If we need a template, consider the story of the woman caught in adultery: I love this story, although I always wonder where the man got to? Jesus is confronted with two choices: stone her or let her go. Either choice is disastrous, for her, for him and for the community. Jesus creates a third option and the woman is spared, his reputation soars and evil is shamed. He does it all without ever uttering a harsh word.

At a time when even reason itself is being questioned we must call forth, honor and celebrate our best minds and hearts — and pray to the Most High God to guide them, and us, into new paths forward.