When I was a kid we had a phrase that we heard a lot from our math teachers- ‘major on the majors, not on the minors’. The meaning was clear enough even to we fifth graders- some things are important and deserve attention and other things are insignificant and not worth troubling yourself over.
This little truth has also been operative in the history of the Church in the notion of adiaphora. Adiaphora are ‘matters of indifference’ or things that matter very little and thus not worth fighting over and certainly not dying over. For the Reformers, for instance, where Scripture speaks we must speak but where Scripture is silent, the matter is adiaphora.
To be sure, what one person finds adiaphoric another person finds earth shaking and life changing. Hence, the rub.
For instance, one Eva Mrozcek has gone on a tear because a toss off humorous blog title had the audacity to use the phrase ‘ugly stepsister!’ My God, how could he do such a thing?!?!?!! He (Christian Askeland) must surely be some sort of insensitive sexist pig to use such a term, right? How very odd.
But perhaps Eva needs to take a breath, count to ten, and realize that just because a person has a knife in their hand doesn’t mean that they are going to kill a small child. Maybe they’re just going to butter their bread. Or, to put it differently, maybe the sexism really exists only in the mind of Eva and what she saw didn’t even occur to anyone else on the planet because, frankly, there’s nothing there to see.
Furthermore, aren’t there other things that Eva could focus her attention on that really are drastically important matters? Has Eva, for instance, written a single line on the tragic kidnapping of the Nigerian school girls? If Eva is that concerned with the treatment of women, as we all should be, where’s her concern for a REAL issue? Why is she focused on an issue that, in a moment of silent reflection, she may discover exists only in her own mind?
Eva is, I’m sure, a terribly lovely person. She’s probably an awesome friend to her friends and a loving member of her family. She probably even likes animals. But she has a bit of a lacuna in her outlook. She seems to need to acquaint herself with the concept of adiaphora and then use her considerable talents to address issues that are really issues and not issues that smack of a narrow focus in special interests that, at the end of the day, should be seen as they were meant to be seen- as a touch of humorousness.
After all, imputing evil when evil isn’t intended is itself something of an evil.