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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

We're better than this...

I go away for a month, and social media seems a little crazy, What's worse, is that people who use social media to live their life, make it even crazier. Donald Trump? Every time he appears in a feed or a post or a commercial (I've been in Iowa recently) I move on. I don't bother. His track record is being an arrogant and greedy man, and I assume he wants to be a politician only to rob me. Why would I listen to a robber? I'm better than that.

We're blaming refugees because we don't want to admit our fear. Or, if we admit our fear, it is now acceptable to become xenophobic rather than deal with the fear. Seriously, does the Statue of Liberty mean anything at all? Didn't people learn in school that the whole point of the United States of America is to be a tossed salad of ethnicities, colors, genders, (we added that one recently), religions, politics, and philosophies? (I was going to add economic systems, but if Bernie Sanders is considered a "socialist" then we have totally bought into liberal capitalism. Economically, the only difference between Trump and Sanders is that one emphasizes the "liberal" and the other the "capitalism," but it's the same theory and system for each one. Neither one wants the government to own General Motors or Berkshire Hathaway.) So in our fear we blame the most recent for our fears, and so Arabs of all types are the scapegoat. We're better than this.

Perhaps you've heard the story of the Garden of Eden, and its two human inhabitants, Adam and Eve. Throughout centuries (and the written story is at least 4000 years old) this story has founded three major religions, and countless imaginations on the complexity of human interaction with other humans, nature, and the Divine. I won't go into too many details here, but there's something you have to know about the story, and I think it will help us see through the idiocy that is wandering through the social media these days. Adam and Eve were free to do anything they wanted in the garden--except eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  According to the story, anything else was permitted.

Now Nietzsche (see more) rightly saw that we must go beyond good and evil in order to accept the humanity we have been given. How's that going for you? BUT, what even a great reader like Nietzsche doesn't deal with is the obvious freedom Adam and Eve DO NOT choose. That is, rather than exercising their freedom, they choose to disobey the one rule they have been given. From this we understand that we would rather do something negative to ourselves to prove our freedom rather than exercise our freedom to gain greater humanity; or, in some cases, any humanity. You see, in order to gain more freedom, gain more humanity Adam and Even could have exercised the freedom they were given by the Divine and just left the garden. They were created for more than that. They could have said, "We're better than this. How about we leave and see what else we can be or do?"

And we are better than the xenophobic fear-mongering that seems to be all the rage these days. Here's the secret: we are all refugees on this planet. We are all better than this. Do you think God made you so you could sit around and watch Netflix? That that's why you were birthed? Did the Divine breathe life into you so you could sit around and listen to idiots pontificate about who's got the best ideas to keep the poor poor, and the wealthy wealthy? Come one friends, we're better than this.

My advice, if you're afraid or refugees or dying or whatever, it to walk out of the garden and see what's on the other side of the fence? (Or wall, as the case may be...) We are created free, and let us not choose the links and pages of slavery to destroy the gift of our humanity. In our tradition, we have a saying that goes, "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil." And don't forget, in order for that sentence to be true, we have to walk. We're better than this. Let's walk.

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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