Sin Stitches

The world of human morality is a tapestry of various and sometimes competing values and interests and ideals. To isolate a moral decision from the life in which it exists is like isolating a single strand of fabric in a quilt in order to argue whether it is blue or red. You can come to a conclusion, perhaps a very right and truthful answer, but you haven’t said anything meaningful until you have located that strand within the tapestry of life. We do violence to the gospel when we allow ourselves to pretend that moral issues and decisions are more important at the level of the individual strand than they are at the level of creation’s intricate tapestry of life.

At best, the way moral issues are discussed in today’s world is like trying to study a quilt by focusing in on a single square of stitches. You can question all you want whether the interwoven strands are blue or red, but there is no way to ensure that everyone else even agrees that you are looking at the right part of the quilt. To take a step back from your focal point, you may find that the tapestry of life is far more beautiful and complex than anything that could be gleaned from a single square.

Your argument over that square may very well be truthful and accurate, but at some point you have to ask if you have said anything meaningful by focusing so intently on just one square. And there is always the chance, if not likelihood, that everyone around you is focusing just one square to the right and coming to the opposite conclusion as you. Moral arguments, to get anywhere, have to involve first agreeing upon the level of focus at which the argument will take place and only then can we meaningfully discuss what we are seeing.

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