The word “extreme” has fallen on hard times these days. Extremist viewpoints are caricatured and maligned by politicians and pundits as they mount their pulpits and practice their craft of shaping our thoughts. The Republicans try and convince us that the Democrats are extreme in their social liberalism, their taxation of the people, and their runaway spending. The Democrats try and convince us that the Republicans are extreme in their cruelty to women and children, to the marginalized and downtrodden, and their coddling of the rich and radical religious right. It’s an extreme situation. Those taking aim in the war of words want us to know that to be extreme is to be something less than sophisticated, socially well-adjusted, and sensible.
Once upon a time in a land far away, (that’s the way all good stories begin), there was a man who was deeply troubled. He was a brilliant man. A man with a wonderful wife, precious children, and good health. The man’s troubled soul resulted not from family turmoil or financial pressure, not from deep, dark-sided sin or an angry crowd in pursuit. The man’s troubled soul reverberated throughout his body because he was unable to find rest, peace in his heart. He had taken vacations throughout the world – reclining on sandy beaches, taking in the beauty of the Swiss Alps, gazing at glossy glaciers, and standing in awe before the majestic animals of Africa. No matter where he traveled, no matter what he did, no matter how hard he tried, the man never arrived at the place of peace, serenity, and rest.