When Extremism Makes Sense (The Ethical Life: week 1)

Between Super Tuesday and the arrival of the novel corona virus/COVID-19, it’s been a week of intense social anxiety. A week where you can feel the strain of our society…fear, distrust, misinformation, a health care system overburdened and in many cases, cost prohibitive – if you’ve been a little extra tired or angry or stressed – that would make sense. 

In these times, we need each other now more than ever – and yet the forces of increased polarization and isolation have weakened our capacity to trust each other, and to be there for each other. Instead, there’s a pervasive impulse for picking sides, for calling out people for being less than ideologically pure, and real struggle to know who you can trust.  

I’ve been thinking this week about the idea of extremism. Partially because the service this Sunday will be exploring ethical purity – and the ethics of compromise – this is after all, the beginnings of extremism – a heightened fundamentalism. It’s the risk as polarization continues to grow – that extremes become normal as the center is lost.

Mostly we tend to think of this as dangerous, something to avoid. But in these days, as Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us, sometimes – instead of the center – the path of truth, and goodness, can be found in the extremes. He says it this way: “The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? Yes, we’re extremists. Now, what was your point?” 

This is the question we’ll explore this Sunday – 8:30, 10, 11:30. Hope to see you there.  

In partnership, 
Rev. Gretchen 

PS. We are preparing for what we assume will eventually be the arrival of the coronavirus in our area.  We will send out more information in the next few days about our planning.  In the meantime, here are a few guidelines for you to consider, as well as some info. TL/DR: “Plan, but don’t panic.  Wash your hands.  Don’t work sick, don’t school sick, don’t church sick.”

Notes from The Ethical Life: Week 1– Right, Wrong, and How to Know  

Listen to the message

Referenced in the Service
Ethical Framework Summary

Music
We sang our series theme song, Your Life Is Now
With support from our Choir we sang Jason Shelton’s Love One Another

Remember
By becoming more intentional in how we approach ethical questions, and what it means to act for the good, we can grow in humility and in understanding of the way others see the world. A “virtue ethics” approach seeks a middle ground between extremes and affirms there is no one single right way to act.

What does an ethical life mean to you?