Friday, January 21, 2005

A gentle reflection...

A couple shorter posts, just to clear my brain and clear the air. Multiple topics are racing around in my brain, so I'm just going to do a brain dump on several of them.

Responding to an earlier post, my friend Wes D. made an interesting comment. (Actually, he makes interesting and challenging comments all the time - I just was listening, for once, however badly). The one that caught my eye/ear was this: "Maybe our calling should include informing rather than reforming."

It's an interesting thought because so much of the 12-step way of thinking is about accepting "what is" rather than having expectations of what "could be" or "should be." The Serenity Prayer itself speaks of accepting what I cannot change, having courage to change what I can, and asking for the wisdom to discern between the two. And Chapter 5 of the AA "big book" speaks specifically to us: "If you want what we have, and are willing to go to any lengths to get it..." At least one simplistic converse of that is, of course, "If you don't want what we have, then leave us the hell alone."

In a former congregation, a group of us were what Len Sweet would call "park" or "meadow" people, in a church that was very much in the "garden/glen" understanding. Silly folk that we were, we couldn't accept how things were, and thought we had the courage to change them. In the end, we brought lots of good things to fruition, but also seeded a considerable amount of dissent. At least a part of that struggle was failing to "inform" before we tried to "reform," I think. But a part of it was that several of us saw what that community of faith could become - and hoped to transform into something in which all of us could grow. Those efforts failed - and a number of us had to choose between accepting the way things had always been, or having the courage to change (in this case, our location and our home congregation). Evidently "the wisdom to know the difference" still can be elusive (and not just to those in the community of recovery, it seems).

I thought of this, too, in the comments on my semi-snarky thoughts about the inauguration. Dave P. was exactly right - the inaugural ceremonies and celebrations have escalated continuously for the last century, and regardless who got elected, the result would have been the same.

But is it wrong to wish - to pray - for something different? For something better?

This is where I struggle - and where I will continue to struggle. I think that $100 million for a presidential inauguration is obscene - regardless who's doing it. I think $130,000 to blow up a baseball is obscene. And I know that having one person, talking or acting alone, will never change anything.

But I believe that I have to speak out - to bring my understanding of the truth to the world. They may not like it - in fact, almost invariably, whoever they are never do like the spotlight of truth on them. But remaining silent has eaten my lunch for so long - and there are things which I find to be evil against which I must speak.

I forget who first said it, but it's still true: the first step to changing the world is for one person to imagine it differently, and then work to see their imaginings come to life. As Mary Travers once said, "If the Spirit of God really is like the breeze, whirling past each one of us, then 'the answers,' my friends, really are 'blowin' in the Wind'."

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