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These are my thoughts on this partially cloudy Essex morning:
I have been thinking about ‘right and wrong’. Is it the responsibility of the individual to decide what is right or wrong? Or does the community of faith (the ‘church’, some might call it) have a role in telling us what is right and wrong too?
I feel that, on one hand, unless one has walked in another person’s shoes, experienced what they have experienced then we, as onlookers have no right to judge their actions. If another person has honestly thought their actions through and used and used the best means at their disposal to decide what is right and what is wrong (For example their conscience, the Bible as they understand it, their own life experience, etc) who are we to tell them they are mistaken?
But then again this view breaks down when it comes to actions that we all acknowledge are wrong. We all, for instance, would agree that it is wrong to steal pencils. I cannot imagine that any unrepentant pencil-stealers frequent this blog. But what if a friend believes strongly that if they see a pencil it is their right to take that pencil home and add it to their pencil case? Surely we would be right to make them see the error of their ways. Otherwise no pencils would be safe and scociety would descend into chaos. ‘Lock up your pencils’ would become our watchword.
The problem is, I suppose, that we need to decide which ‘wrongs’ are undisputed wrongs and which are debatable wrongs. The problem is often that there are disputes about which ones are undisputed. I suspect the disagreements in the Anglican world stem in part from such a difference of opinion.
If you have no idea what I have been on about please continue merrily on your way and come back tomorrow when I shall refrain from such in-depth talk. Otherwise do feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.