â€¦join the crowd.
Iâ€™d be happy to take a long hiatus from the current version of homo sapiens, because weâ€™re a hot mess. The rage and hatred in the public square are becoming unbearable. As if that werenâ€™t bad enough, I see this same spirit infecting other parts of our life together. Even in my beloved hobby, whose members are family to me, the charges and countercharges, white-hot social media fury, choosing up sides and fighting are on full display.
Now, with the news of the past couple of weeksâ€”pipe bombs in the mail, lives lost at a Pittsburgh synagogueâ€”all of this has shaded into a new level of violence. As it had to. Spew enough words, create enough rage, and weapons often follow.
Bottom line, weâ€™ve done a lot of damage in the past two years. Weâ€™ve wreaked a lot of havoc. The damage will take time and space and work to heal. And until we heal, weâ€™ll be very vulnerable to further pain. No wonder people are hiding out, keeping to themselves, refusing to converse, bowling alone.
With all my heart I want to join them. Two things give me pause, and they both came up in silent prayer recently–where so many things come up, courtesy (I believe) of the Spirit.
Thing 1: notice the pronouns two paragraphs above. Weâ€™ve done a lot of damage. Weâ€™ve wreaked a lot of havoc. Like it or not, Iâ€™m one of themâ€”one of usâ€”which means I have to own my own inner dross. Itâ€™s true that I make a point of not spewing rage and drama. But the seeds of it live in my heart too, just like they live in most everyoneâ€™s heart.
In short, Iâ€™m stuck with us. Weâ€™re stuck with us.
Thing 2 comes from my orientation as a Christian. Just by our speciesâ€™ status as still alive and walking around, itâ€™s evident to me that God has not given up on the human race. Quite the opposite when you consider Christianityâ€™s central story: that God, in the person of Jesus, became every bit as human as you and me. That he drank the human experience to its dregs, right down to a humiliating public execution. God is quoted as saying, â€œI will never leave you nor forsake you,â€ and the Christ story proves it.
If Godâ€™s sticking with us, and I have to imitate God (Ephesians 5:1 from the Christian scriptures), that obliges me to stick with us too.
Do I have enthusiasm for this? Oh hell no. Sometimes, thoughâ€”especially in the chaos that rage and hatred inevitably causeâ€”itâ€™s good to throw a stake in the ground and say, â€œI have to stand here. I cannot do otherwise.â€ Then, with that stake keeping me tethered to the good and true, I can do the inner work to figure out how on earth Iâ€™m going to follow Godâ€™s call with a whole heart.