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July 2, 2007
I don't know why so many people dread weeding -- for the most part, it's fun. You bring order so swiftly out of chaos when you free a plant from whoever's trying to strangle it; the garden looks better right that very moment. And, after the initial serious sweep of weeds, your activity reduces to a simple pulling up of a lone intruder whenever you see one -- on your way down the walk to get the paper, on your way back up the driveway from setting out the trash. Just a bend and a quick swipe, whenever you pass by -- that's enough to keep things under control once you've established who's going to be in the garden and who isn't.

Which is, of course, a culturally relative decision. Nothing under the eye of eternity makes a rose any better than a clover, a hydrangea better than a ragweed -- we are the ones who came up with that. It's just a matter of which one we like better. You could have an entire garden of nothing but what we consider weeds and it could be a lovely garden.

Our lives are full of aesthetic judgments masquerading as moral ones. We love the expected and the familiar, and lash out at anything that doesn't fit in what is usually a rather small tribal box. We insist that everyone worth knowing loves what we love, and we suspect him deeply if he loves something else instead. We imagine that we can know a person's worth by evaluating his shopping habits, that we can tell what a person thinks about everything if we know her political party or where he went to school. We meet a pro-choice conservative or a pro-life liberal and we are shaken. We imagine that patriotism and homogeneity are the same thing.

But no. Nobody has the luxury of allowing an affiliation -- even a church -- to do her thinking for her. We're each responsible for ourselves, however mightily we try to evade that responsibility. Is it any wonder that the world has become so beige?

And doesn't another color pop up through the cracks, again and again, no matter what we do?

Thanks be to God.
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