Saturday, July 25, 2009

Healthy Relationships

It irritates me when others take advantage of others. It doesn't matter if I am personally involved or not, because in principle, I believe that the individual is not to be presumed upon. Presumption depends on others without their input, or knowledge. While my husband trusts me, it would be disrepectful and unkind for me to not ask his opinion, advice, or permission, if I were to take on certain responsibilities that affected his life.

Just today I encountered a discussion with a believer, who adheres to "orthodox Christianity". He was raised a Pentecostal, but thinks that Pentecostals do not understand or believe in "real righteousness". While I agree that theological explaination cannot be separated from "real reality", neither can "real reality" in creating "real righteousness" be separated from one's personal history. I further questioned him on why he thought there was anything "special" about religious training, as training for character is done in secular environments and not just religious ones.

Relationship is built on trust, from the cradle to the grave. Trust is learned in the cradle when the infant's needs are met and the toddler's questions are patiently answered. Trust is built as the teen learns to expand their horizons and explore the world a little further from home. But, adults understand trust to be about living life within a context of social contract.

Social contract is an understanding that although we are individuals, we do not live alone and separated from the greater world. We live our lives within many contexts that underline "who we are". Our identities are written in the contexts we commit to. Adults do not have to be defined by the contexts of their upbringing.

This particular person is a highly educated and personable who believes in supernaturalism. I felt frustrated over his seeming inability to understand where I was coming from. He had stated that we all have dogmatics that we "live by". And he proceeded to talk about postmodernity and narrative.,the Church being the ultimate universal. He spoke of "community", that sounded uptopian to me. When I tried to point out that all social organizations "run" in similar ways, he kept holding to a "higher spiritual view". Definitions of boundary are what identifies the groups "form" and structures the organization's values. These are not universal, but specified and are committed to by individuals who want association with the group. This commitment is a commitment of choice and value. It is a commitment of faith, which is the "social contract". And the social contract must be built upon the foundation of 'good will" and "good intention".

But, what if there has been a history of "ill will" or a breaking of trust? What then? Is one called to just "take a leap" without understanding or reasonableness? I think this would be the height of naivete'. One must trust what one commits to, otherwise, it is an unhealthy relationship.

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