“Our problem is not that we're fallen; our problem is that we haven't become human yet. The question is, what can make us human, so that we can give life away and not be grasping after trying to protect our own lives all the time? That's the way I see the Jesus story, and I think it's a powerful and profound story.”
John Shelby Spong
You know, there is always a battle going on within about what to give away and what to keep. It's true for me and for others. I have a romantic image that in other cultures, especially ones where people live close to the earth, there is much more generosity of spirit. Perhaps I am wrong. But, it seems to me that in less “sophisticated” societies, the individual is not important except in terms of the skills and services they bring to the community. I have the idealized notion that people in those cultures do not hoard wealth or possessions, but share what they have. In the early Christian church, that was the case—those who joined the Jesus movement were expected to go and sell, or provide to the community, all their worldly possessions. In all burgeoning “rights” movements—take the Civil Rights, or the Standing Rock movements, for instance—people gathered in homes and churches to plan their next action. Others provided food and hospitality to those on the front lines.
One unfortunate aspect of the technological age is that we have become absorbed in our own lives to such an extent, that the lives of others are only peripheral to us. This is not true for everyone, of course, but predominates in America. At the same time that we call ourselves a “Christian Nation,” we shut our borders, and elect to the highest office in the land, a man who is the epitome of self-absorption. We idealize the example of Jesus, a man who was willing to give his life to teach others about God's love, and who would rather eat with “sinners” than with the high and mighty. And yet, the person we've chosen to be our “savior” lives in a golden tower and has won his title by promising to marginalize the very people whom Jesus would have chosen. We are so confused.
I hope we wake up and remember who we are. That we reclaim our humanity. I hope that we stop shooting each other, stop shooting up, and stop blaming others for our problems. I hope, and pray, that we remember, especially now, what it means to actually walk in the footsteps of the fisherman.
In the Spirit,