Slippery Slope

It’s a slippery slope, my friend. In the literal sense, it’s a heads-up to step carefully on wintry roads, sidewalks, and ski trails. In a philosophical discussion, it’s a caution concerning the tendency to slide from one questionable act or assumption into another, gaining momentum all the way. In Lemony Snicket’s The Slippery Slope, book the tenth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, it’s both.

A slippery slope turns tentative, tiny movements in a particular direction into a glide, a descent, and a velocity that cannot be controlled or stopped. It’s what makes navigating icy on-ramps dangerous and toboggan rides down snowy hills exhilarating. It’s momentum in a particular direction, and what comes of it – joy, pain, kindness, hurt – depends on the direction. Taking a few steps down the wrong path makes taking the next few easier until the ability to turn around is unlikely if not impossible. But the same may be said of taking those very same steps down the right path: baby steps in the right direction can turn into confident strides, then a glide into acts of peace and courage that are transformed into blessings for the world around and the soul within.

Falling in love or a descent into hell: it isn’t the slipperiness of the slope, it’s the direction that makes the determination. I take comfort in knowing that God offers a steadying hand when I need to climb my way out of a descent into darkness. I take courage in knowing that God will help me love beyond my own limits. I am filled with joy knowing the small love I offer will be transformed by God into a blessed forward momentum – steps to strides to glides, perhaps.

 [Library Slide in Winter, photo by Jared Fredrickson]

 

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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