Nothing is complicated.

If polls are to be believed (let's assume, in this case, they are), Americans have a complicated relationship with, say, abortion. They don't want Roe vs. Wade to be overturned, though perhaps many don't quite grasp what it would mean. But they also support some restrictions on abortion that are not legal under Roe. Basically, the majority of people in our country want abortion to be legal during the first trimester, and restricted after that.

This doesn't, when you put it that way, sound all that complicated at all. It sounds almost reasonable, except to those partisans on both side who equate reasonableness with the great evil of compromise. (Why legal in the first trimester, if abortion is murder? Why illegal in the second, if it isn't?)

These partisans — some might even term them "elites" though that seems like a genuine misunderstanding of the word — have decided that complexity is mere inconsistency, and they hate inconsistency, except when it serves their purpose to be so (which is pretty much all the time, though they won't admit it). Whatever our opponents believe, we believe the opposite (even if we believed the opposite ourselves until very recently), and we are so committed to our opposing belief because it is so simple, so obvious, so uncomplicatedly true that they are wrong and we are right.

Most of us still live (for now) in a murkier, more complex world. On most issues we find ourselves empathetic to real people caught up in real world situations, which is why those partisan "elites" try so hard to distract us from specifics by turning everything into abstractions. It's easier to hate someone in the abstract, and you can't destroy someone you don't hate.

Christians, of all political persuasions, should understand that people are human beings, not abstractions, since that is how we are called to relate to and love them. We should also be comfortable with complexity. Our faith, after all, is a profound mystery; there is nothing simple about Christian truth. (Years ago, returning to the church and wrestling with faith, I honestly believed that the resurrection was a "beautiful metaphor" and then quickly realized that, actually, it's a terrible metaphor; there are a million possible better, more appropriate metaphors; and in fact it is the complexity of the resurrection and its implications that led me to embrace its truth.)

Unfortunately, too many Christians these days have traded the beauty of mystery for an ugly certainty, and the power of compassion for the cowardice of power.

The great sorting of the last several years reminds me of the Gravitron, that circular amusement park ride in which everyone rests against a padded wall. When the room begins to spin, the centrifugal force pushes everyone back against the wall with such power that one can't step away from the wall and into the center, toward those on the other side, even if one wishes to.

Eventually, everyone gets sick.

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