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Pagosa Springs
Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Living with extremes

By Richard Gammill
PREVIEW Columnist

I just looked at the extended weather report for my local area. The projected high temperatures are in the triple digits for as far out as the report goes — and it will be that way for the next few months. Nothing like this has ever been seen in Pagosa Springs, but this is our common experience since I and my wife moved to Mesa, Ariz., in April 2020. 

When we moved to Pagosa Springs from North Texas in the fall of 2014, we faced the opposite experience. I have several pictures showing our thermometer needle at 0 degrees with a frozen, snow-covered lake in the background. At that time, we chuckled at national news that reported several areas dealing with temperatures below freezing. Now we chuckle at the areas of the country struggling to keep cool where temperatures are in the 90s.

It can be difficult to live with extremes. Some people are invigorated by extreme challenges while others are intimidated by them. Extreme sports have their followers while most of us tremble at pictures or videos of athletes plunging over a cliff — or climbing it. A few millionaires made their wealth by surviving huge risks while most of us are content with small returns on safe investments. Some drivers are terrified by big-city traffic while others speed to their destination with frequent lane changes. The extreme movement in today’s housing market motivates many families to seize a move-up opportunity while others fear risking what they have.

Today’s political scene is embroiled by extremes to the left and right. Managing the COVID-19 crisis has been complicated by advocates and opponents of complying with government pressures on wearing masks and obtaining vaccinations.

So we might be confused by the words of Revelation 3:14-16: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Choosing to follow Jesus as Lord of life seems extreme to many people. It means loving the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind (Matthew 22:37). Loving our neighbor as our self can put us at a disadvantage. Honesty can be costly. Taking a stand against unrighteous judicial systems might be misunderstood. Living by faith appears foolish. Generous — even sacrificial — giving appears unwise. Trying to be fair may squeeze one between opposing forces. Living by biblical standards can make one a target for claims of bigotry.

Yet lukewarmness carries its own risks. Who wants to be spit out?

Hot? Or cold?

This column includes both fiction and nonfiction, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of The SUN. Submissions can be sent to editor@pagosasun.com.

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