Friday, August 13, 2004

The privacy of your own home

Well, the news about the governor of New Jersey having an extra-marital affair with a young man (http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/26824.htm) would have been a scandal that would've ruined careers a century ago -- now it's just today's talker story. But as if to shoo away the appearance of condemning actions that are certainly worthy of condemnation, I've heard even the conservative talk show hosts repeat frequently, "Now, I don't care what anybody does in the privacy of their own home ..."

The privacy of our own home. Is there such a thing?

As far as the judicial and legislative branches are concerned, there certainly has to be. If the only answer for human fallenness is that another law should be passed, then by all means, consider the privacy of my home to extend far and wide.

But as people living together in this complex time, I think it has become too easy to overlook a Christian truth -- what I do in the privacy of my own home does affect others. Have you ever noticed how some weeks in church you can just tell that you're not the only one that had an argument with your spouse? Or that there's something else, something indefinable that is amiss with the congregation? The connection that we have with each other as humans is something we can't really fathom, and much as we would like to dismiss it casually at times when it's inconvenient or would lead us into temptation, we're all in this together. Our attempts at righteousness and our failures are not merely our own.

I don't wish to sit in judgment of Mr. McGreevy or the young man who now says he was the victim (why am I not surprised?), but what was done in private did matter. It would have mattered even if it hadn't come out. The circle of influence was widened by its being broadcast on the radio and television, but it was always there. If it's too difficult to say such things, then maybe it's the sort of thing that best to call to remembrance for oneself and leave the private actions of others to the only Righteous Judge. What I do matters, in my own home or elsewhere.

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