Friday, January 22, 2010

Via Media

Via Media, or "the middle way," refers to the idea of avoiding the extreme; it is also defined as "a mean between two extremes."

Do most Americans have moderate views? Are most Americans content to be left alone to live their lives without too much government interference? I think so.

I suspect most of us would define ourselves as "moderate." I consider myself an extremely moderate person, yet I know many folks would disagree and call me a "pro-life, pro-chastity, home-birthing, breastfeeding, organic gardening Catholic homeschooling mother of ten." But I don't see these things as extreme. In fact, I see them as an extremely moderate way of living.

Here's why:

Pro-life: Justice Blackmun, writing for the majority in the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade, said: "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer."

If it is true (which I don't believe it is), that science can not determine when life begins (or agree with philosophy and theology...not that the Supreme Court really cares what philosophers and theologians have to say), then preference should be given to the possibility of life being present. For if we are truly moderate, we would say, "preserve life if it is present, and do not destroy it if there is any doubt."

Pro-chastity: Premarital and extra-marital sex have spawned a catastrophic increase in STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), a surge in unwed motherhood and increasing divorce rates. The chief criticism of chastity education is, "It doesn't work." Perhaps it is not that chastity itself "doesn't work," but that it is difficult. It is also difficult to run a marathon, yet look at the number of people who do that every year; or to lose one hundred pounds, but look at the hit show The Biggest Loser and see how we applaud folks who do that. To rephrase a G.K. Chesterton quote: "Chastity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."

Homebirth: Less invasive, more natural, fewer post-natal problems. Obviously it's not for high-risk pregnancies, but for most low-risk births, it is a cost-saving and very pleasant alternative to hospital births.

Breastfeeding: Natural, good for baby, good for mom, what's not to like? Okay, stupid comments from uninformed people; otherwise, a very "moderate" way to feed the baby.

Organic gardening: We compost most of our kitchen waste, which makes a great additive to our clay soil. For the past few years I've been trying to get away from hybrid species and plant solely heirloom varieties. It's not only fun and educational, but it helps preserve rare species which are disappearing at an alarming rate due to large-scale production farming.

Catholic: The word "catholic" means "universal" and the early Christian Church adopted this term to show the universality of the Church that was planting seeds throughout the world. We don't have suicide bombers and we try to practice the teachings of our founder, who said some pretty extreme things like "Love your neighbor as yourself." He also died for the sins of others. Okay, maybe that does make me a little on the extreme side, but I haven't perfected any of those things yet, so I can still be called "moderate."

Homeschooling: The passing down of information from one generation to the next has been the way of education since the dawn of time. We're just a little more organized these days.

Mom of ten: Maybe by today's standards that's extreme, but the real reason I have so many kids is because I need them to keep me on the straight and narrow. There's no telling what trouble I might be getting myself into if I wasn't running after them. One thing I have noticed with having ten kids is that love doesn't diminish when your family grows. Love only grows. The thing we notice when someone is gone is how quiet and empty the house feels.

Let's hear it for radical moderation! Believe to the extreme. Hope to the extreme. Love to the extreme.

Love is the ultimate via media.

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13

1 comment:

The Bookworm said...

Radical moderation! I love it.