The Man in the Middle

It is hard sometimes in the middle-of-the-road. The traffic in both lanes can more easily hit you! And those who are securely in one lane or the other, or who are on the edges of the road, are unsure what to do about you. Most don’t want to hit you. But I think they also wish you would get in one lane or the other or just get out of their way. Seldom is being called “middle-of-the-road” a complement. It often carries connotations of being lukewarm or  ambivalent.

For much of my life I called myself a conservative. I am conservative in many ways. But on most of the pressing issues facing our church (The United Methodist Church) I am in the middle because neither end gives me a place where I can stand. Sometimes it is the complexity of the issue. Sometimes it is the contradictory beliefs I hold in my mind. It would be easier to be sure about every question. I am not. I could say much the same thing about the political climate in our country as well.

II hold firmly to my core faith in Jesus Christ, in my conviction of the necessity and centrality of the church in being a faithful disciple. I am not ambivalent or wishy-washy about a great many things.

But I am staking out my place in the middle and have been in recent weeks searching out others who are standing in the same place. It can be dangerous here. Even confusing. But it’s the center where I plan to stay.

William Willimon wrote “That most people meet Jesus on the road is no coincidence.” (Why Jesus?) I hope to meet Jesus there myself in the days ahead… in the middle of the road.

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