Over on Liz's blog (the title is a link to it) the comments on a post have veered towards a discussion of what "the center" that many of us are trying to move towards might be.
I realized after the fact that I had revealed myself as an inveterate universalist when I made the claim that "the center" changes depending on what people you're including in your calculation (if you have a scattering of points on a graph, you can find a "center" of the scattered plots)
While the idea seems to be that for conservative Friends, and/or christians (?) The center is true, it has to do with God, and that transcends people. So that new people don't shift it at all?
If there is one (well, there are lots of centers, but if there's a "true" one - that can be true for all of us) does it shift a little when each new person is born or dies?
Or is it constant. has it been constant forever? was it the same center for dinosaurs? Or do they lack souls and therefore not have a center? (rhetorical question, I don't beleieve that for a minute, God certainly doesnt' depend on us for existence, if it has it - except as a word a concept, but if you believe in it, you believe in more than that, I'd guess)
I realized a bit later that I don't necessarily believe that it changes (though I probably believe that more than that it doesn't, if THAT makes any sense) - it's possible that it doesn't change, and yet every new person brought under consideration changes our perception of it. More like science, where our best understanding of truth shifts constantly with new information, sometimes subtlely, sometimes radically, but pretty constantly...
And then I wonder if anyone should NOT be taken as part of the equation - which touches on (perhaps) the idea of "that of God in everyone" (at least my understanding of it, which is not a bit of the reflection God, but that we are all a piece of God, and it is (?) diminished by the loss of any one of us)
So, are psychopathic killers part of God? Does their "truth" shift the center, or, rather, give us new information about it (that can be trusted, that is not false) - or are they simply outside the system of God? Is anyone outside the system of God? Not in terms of basic respect owed (like, no one should be tortured!) but in terms of for lack of a better phrase, building the kingdom?