a plea for nuance

by Matt Mooney












My post-election social media feeds are half-filled with exclamatory proclamations of a country now headed to greater grandeur than it has known, while another half of the updates, statuses and links swear impending doom for women, children and wage earners.

We are a bit prone to say things such as, “these are the most divided times” and such- and I am sure there are even numbers out there to back this up.  But I have studied just enough history to know about the civil war and civil rights and it seems to me that our little friend, America, has been a bit divided at other times as well.

More than an increasing division, I do think however that we have increased our propensity to accept simple answers for difficult questions.  Outside my window, as I type, three men are hard at work finishing our deck (pictures coming soon…maybe).  I am busy closing the blinds and hiding from them- as I know that men with hammers must look down on men who type.  I’ve always wanted to work with my hands, except for every time I have done so.  The point being, that building is a bit on my mind, so excuse my analogy if it doesn’t fit.

When it comes to thorny issues we crave switches.  It’s exactly backwards of our propensities when building.  When it comes to building a house, we want dimmers:  give me lights that adjust up and down dependent on a given scenario.

 Christians, we are so guilty of this that I cannot go there, I fear, without cuss words a’ flying….and I try to keep this blog rated right around PG because I see a day when Hazel reads it and ask me why I use words I tell her not to.

 So what do I mean “we crave switches”?  Easier than writing a paragraph, I will borrow from philosopher, Jeff Foxworthy:

  • If you interrupt someone who is pouring out to you of a hard thing they are walking through with a go-to verse or quote…..  you might be a switch.
  • If all of your friends voted just like you did… you might be a switch.
  • If you peddle your opinions to your children as facts and avoid hard conversations with them… you might be a switch.
  • If you think that the essence of the gospel can be captured best on a bumper sticker…. you might be a switch.

I could go on for days; but if you’re not getting the gist yet, then it’s fair to say you can probably skip the rest of this one (and go pick up your yard signs.)

And here’s what I want to tell all of my switches.
What can be lost when we move in this direction is the ability to understand the depth and meaning of love.

Jesus chose his switches and they were few.  He refused to make following Him simple.  He refused to fit into religious boxes or political definitions.  He refused to focus on switches or dimmers and instead pointed always to the light.

He was comfortable with confounding others.  Comfortable with being a perfect balance of truth and love.  Uncomfortable with man-made switches.

I cannot be sure if technology has produced this rise in switchy-ness, but I think so.  When I can blast my opinion on homosexuality out to my “friends” without ever looking someone in the eye or hearing their story- at the very least, I behave differently.

Switches remove the relationship and conversation from difficult issues.

May we hold to truth.
May we hold to love.
May we come with ears and not just answers.


“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?”

- Jesus



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