The World Is Broken

Of the many things Jesus said, the one I find most compelling is: “I have to go now. But don’t worry. You can do the things I do. As a matter of fact you will do even greater things than I have.” 
 
Those with him protested passionately “How can you say that? We’re not like you! We don’t know how!!” The carpenter’s kid from Nazareth responded with: “You’ve been with me for three years. You’ve watched how I do things, how I love people. That’s all it takes. You. Can. Do. This.”
 
Today Sebene Selassie said the world is broken. And my heart is breaking. Because I know she’s right.
 
There’s only one way we’re going to survive. All that’s necessary is to do what every religion recommends: “Love your neighbor.” Is it easy for me to love my neighbor who threatened to shoot my dog if he came on his property again? No. Definitely not. But you know what? It’s even harder for him to love me! After all, my bumper sticker does say “Jesus was a liberal.” (smiley face)
 
Here’s the deal. Either I do a better job of caring for him than I’ve been capable of so far or there’s no way he’s ever going to feel anything for me other than extreme hatred. He and others like him are afraid. He knows something is very wrong but can’t quite put his finger on it. All he knows now is anger, a whole lot of anger. That kind of anger makes otherwise sane people charge the Capitol screaming inane things like “HANG PENCE!”
 
Yes, my neighbor was there. 
 
What we’re talking about here is what he and 80% of eastern Oregon men cannot and will not talk about—climate change, the war industry, the NRA, a woman’s right to choose, and similar litmus test issues.
 
I know, I know. You’re thinking, “I’m barely keeping it together now, why would I want to take on these kinds of issues?” Because in doing so you will find purpose, focus, hope, and yes, even happiness. That’s why.
 
These days, everywhere I turn I run into some form of “Don’t concern yourself with the things you can’t control.” Pardon my saying it but that’s existential suicide. Americans don’t die of old age any more. Nope. We die of brain bleeds, cancers, suicide. We don’t live long enough to die of old age. You might ask why. Desmond Tutu says it best:
 
When we look squarely at injustice and get involved, we actually feel less pain, not more, because we overcome the gnawing guilt and despair that fester under our numbness.  We clean the wound – our own and others – and it can finally heal.”
 
Not all of us are Desmond Tutu but for sure, none of us can hope for positive change when we accept “There’s nothing I can do about it so I’ll just put it out of my mind, bury it, ignore it.” 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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