This is actually another song title, this one from one of the recent Paul McCartney albums. I wasn't really thinking about that when I typed it, but the song fits. Sir Paul notes that "there's a fine line between recklessness and courage," a "long way between chaos and creation."
I've been thinking about that lately.
B.H. Roberts, one of the great old warriors of Mormon culture, complained that too many missionaries take the Gospel of Peace, and "shoot it at people as if it were porcupine quills, stirring up needless animosities." This is not a trait unique to missionaries. I tend to mistake recklessness for courage. I often pitch my tent in Chaos, mistaking its disorder and disharmony for Creation, and shoot out an endless supply of quills.
There are things I know to be true. That is an audacious thing to say, to declare some unknowable something to be certain, unassailable, true. It's an off-putting, even offensive assertion, when presented pridefully. Years ago, I heard a man in a sacrament meeting say, "I can't wait for the Final Judgment, so I can see the expressions on the faces of all those people who ever told me I was wrong." What a depressing prospect, living for an Afterlife where the great reward is not the sweet reunion with loved ones, or the privilege of meeting the Savior, but the chance to say "IN YOUR FACE!!!" to the world. It's the Gospel According to The WWE Smackdown.
Knowing is a quality easily distorted, and easily misunderstood. One of the many evidences of the genius of Joseph Smith is that he was able to assert his knowing, without dismissing or denigrating what others know: "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and afford all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." I can know things, and still love and respect my neighbor, who holds to a different set of knowings, and not diminish my faith, or undermine his.
There are sure truths in this universe, I am convinced of it. One day we will all enjoy a perfect knowledge, and when we have it, we will all feel chastened and challenged, corrected and confirmed. We will all learn something. Until then, we know what we know, and we go forward.
I need to do it more gracefully, more patiently.