I have told you before that I read a variety of things from a wide range of sources. Often those sources push views that I am not aligned with. I read an article last week that fits in this category: on a site I rarely agree with and by an author I don’t share much common ground. This time however, I found myself agreeing with the conclusion of the writer.
I can sum up the article as follows: the sexual revolution “freed” men and women to pursue sex outside of the historical moral norms. Consent, not marriage or commitment became the key that unlocked the doors to that freedom. Now we find that consent is not enough, since the man has a disproportionate amount of power in many situations and often the consent is coerced even if we do not recognize it as such. This leads to the conclusion that we should return to the standard of commitment as the prerequisite for sex—that sex was never safe. The article even acknowledges that the religious morals that have been upheld by the “church” are at least partially right in this regard.
I wouldn’t stop there though. The sexual revolution was a symptom of a common problem with humankind. Selfishness. Selfishness leads to transactional relationships when what we actually need, and desire is transformational ones.
When we reduce the equation to “what do I have to give up to get what I want from this person?”, instead of asking “what can I give to demonstrate that I truly care for this person?” it should not surprise us when what follows is inhumanity in so many disturbing and disrupting forms.
When I was young, I often saw my father’s rules and requirements as restrictive and punitive. I believed that when I was older and had the means I would do as I wanted. I lived to achieve that goal in many ways and suffered greatly for my arrogance. It turned out that my father’s restrictions were not to limit me, but to limit the harm that could befall me.
Could it be that the moral norms we used to value, while seen by some as punitive, were in fact for our collective good? It would be a wonderful world if everyone operated from a desire to create the most good in other’s lives, but it isn’t. We need social guides and restrictions to protect us from the harm that occurs when selfishness is left unchecked.
At Kimray, we would rather have a principle than a rule. A rule prescribes a singular response to a specific scenario. A principle allows us to resolve a variety of situations in harmony with our values. Rules guide us until we develop our ability to utilize a moral compass. Principles are the moral compass. As we mature in community, we continue to meet the requirements of the simple rules because we are increasingly guided by the principles from which the rules were derived.
The greatest example of this in action was the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus spent a life perfectly following the “rules” not because he was a good rule follower, but because he embodied the principles from which all the rules were derived. Love God, Love Others. He lived out perfectly the answer to the question, “what can I give to demonstrate that I truly care for these people?”
I want to live a life where I get better at seeing what I can give, then I am at seeing what I can get. I want to live a life where I follow the rules as a result of living out the principles. I want transformational relationships, not transactional ones.
I am blessed to belong to a community where this is happening every day, because after all, that is the Kimray Way.