Like most families,
we have those family members who are very strong-willed, stubborn individuals and they are more than willing to strongly express their opinions as facts about whatever topic they are on at the moment—often not allowing anyone to disagree or to not accept their viewpoint as the only “right” one (no, I will not name names of our “self-proclaimed experts,” but we all have them in our groups and we know who they are).
HOWEVER, this recent highly emotionally-charged season dominated by ever-widening divisions is something I have never seen before even after living through the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, ERA, Watts Riots, and 9-11 all of which were filled with differing opinions, but did not seem to elicit the widespread venomous hate-filled speech among friends and family members that we see almost everywhere these days.
WHAT stripped away those unwritten rules:
• that kept us from being spiteful to one another,
• that kept us from considering some “cause” to be more
important than relationships,
• that kept us from reaching a point of arrogance in our belief that we must fight against “them” with our “perfect understanding” of things happening to people we do not even know,
• that would have refuted the new definitions of “truth,”
“alternative facts,” and “acceptable” according to
group allegiance rather than
• that would NOT have made political party affiliation a
determining factor in the right/wrong decisions or have made “facts” true only if they supported your group or a member of your group (what you condemned in someone previously, you now accept/endorse if it is one who belongs to your political party)
• that made common respect
common for everyone and NOT only to those agreeing with you or your group,
• that refused to make excuses
for coarse language and insults based on ethnicity, gender, or a belief system,
• that would never sell selfishness as the right way to think and act, putting ME first touted as a “right” and justifying mistreatment of anyone not like ME and would never have defended a lack of compassion,
• that taught us that working together is best for everyone, that “united we stand, divided
we fall” has been shown true throughout history and alliances are vital to survival in an
SO, I know the questions . . . BUT, what is the answer? Where do I begin to find HOPE in this?
The first thought that comes to my mind is CHAOS (dictionary definition: a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order)—chaos seems to dominate our existence and that leaves us unsettled with our foundations undermined and it makes sense that we would look for a “voice” to direct us, give us a feeling of security because we have a goal, a purpose, a fight to protect us from whatever that “voice” identifies as our “common enemy” and anyone not following that “voice” is a part of the “common enemy” because of the horribly dark pictures painted by that “voice.”
BUT, how does CHAOS unsettle our foundations that have seemed to be in place forever leaving us vulnerable to a “voice” instilling deep fears?
Perhaps, it is because we do not have an understanding of our foundations – what we believe or why or WHO we believe controls the world, the nature of the one we call “GOD” . . . IF GOD created ALL that exists, then GOD has control and we should be seeking GOD’s guidance, not man’s interpretation of GOD’s Word, and we must listen for GOD’s voice in ALL things and prayerfully submit to GOD. DO I KNOW GOD? IS GOD made in my image with human characteristics or is GOD beyond my understanding which requires simply accepting GOD as ALL, undefined, and watching for GOD’s guidance?
BECAUSE there are many beliefs (all with flaws, all with some truth), we must come together and share our thoughts and opinions to help each of us gain fuller insights into the Creator. Major spiritual leaders have found coming together and sharing to be beneficial in each of their journeys by finding common areas in the midst of widely-differing belief systems.
WHAT WE HAVE IN COMMON is our humanity, with our tendencies to be fear-filled, our inclination to elevate “self,” and our basic needs for continued existence . . .
SO what is the LIGHT? WHERE is the HOPE?
TO ME, the Light in the Wall is made up of each person who listens to the inner guide that speaks to our shared humanity and in any small way tries to improve a moment for another . . . we are the Light in the Wall that can grow as we stay true to our inner spirit and refuse to be drawn to respond to the Wall with the same mean-spirited, emotionally-charged rhetoric that we see, hear, and receive, even from friends and family.
TO CHRISTIAN EVANGELICALS:
Do you know the voice of the shepherd? WHO are you following?
But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and
the sheep follow him
because they know his voice.
What “voice” am I following? Each of us looks like our “teacher,” the one we listen to and follow. WHO do I look like, sound like, act like? Am I a part of the Light, even if I flicker sometimes?
Light dispels darkness . . .
but, not if the light starts to become “like” the darkness.
MY HOPE is in staying focused on the LIGHT and
letting the Light shine through me,
around me, and
in me and
finding others who are also focused on the Light.
Together we can become a beacon of HOPE for ALL of GOD’s creation, even in our imperfection, we can allow the perfect LIGHT to shine . . .
I can choose to be a part of the LIGHT in the Wall!