I wake up this morning into a world where the President of the United States is demeaning the hostess and host of a television program. Politicians and citizens alike are bewildered by this conflict. Their anger is appropriate. The President of the United States is a misogynistic bully who pays more attention to what talking heads say about him rather than the oath of office he took to faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States. And … shouldn’t they and we be more concerned with matters of greater import? The President has withdrawn the United States from the Paris Climate Accords. The United States is doing everything it can to prevent refugees from predominantly Islamic war-torn nations to flee violence in order to seek sanctuary in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Millions of people are at risk of losing their Medicare. Hundreds of people will die of hunger today (One person every ten seconds).
This is not the world I imagine or hope it should be. I am a Christian utopian. I believe Jesus of Nazareth meant it when he proclaimed the Good News of God’s reign. I believe Jesus shared the Lord’s Prayer with his disciples. The focus of that prayer is the belief in God’s reign of justice, peace, and compassion. The “Our Father” opens and concludes with an intention to be in awe and service to God rather than to one’s nation or one’s own self-interest. Such discipleship requires hope along with objective thought. The construction of such a utopia demands faith beyond reason, contemplation beyond rational thought. Leaders must motivate people to tackle world changing and irrationally complicated challenges.
The creation of such a world requires a new way of being. It requires people to participate in the drafting, editing, and publishing of new narratives that we agree to believe in rather than in the dominant narratives of our time. As in Jesus’ day, people of faith alongside humanists, philosophers, scientists, poets, artists, and visionaries are principally responsible for creatively imagining this bold and imaginative narrative because politicians, economically advantaged citizens, bullies, authoritarians, and people abiding in fear more so than love promote and sustain the dominant narratives of human systems and cultures.
I’ve recently discovered Charles Eisenstein’s work. It was really random how I came to find out about him. I was checking out Bitcoin. That research led to a link to Charles’ book Sacred Economics. (You can read the entire book online for free – how cool is that???). I decided that I needed to learn more about Charles’ teaching.
This is a muse, so let me get back to my point.
One of Charles’ main themes is this: we (humanity) are moving into a different story – a new story about self, of the world, and of the world’s people. This story hallows interconnectedness. This narrative values our inter-being with one another. (Eisenstein, C. (2/13/13). A New Story of the People [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Mjoxh4c2Dj0 . He adds elsewhere:
The changed attitudes of which I speak go all the way to the core of what it is to be human: they include our understanding of the purpose of life, humanity’s role on the planet, the relationship of the individual to the human and natural community; even what it is to be an individual, a self. (Eisenstein, Sacred Economic, Introduction, para. #5).
I’d suggest that this is not a new narrative. This is a narrative that Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Jesus of Nazareth, Moses, Lao Tzu, and other prophets, sages, and martyrs have beckoned humanity to believe in. It is perhaps new and different because I happen to be living in it existentially today. And, there are two foundational questions rooted in the core of this new and ancient, courageous and compassionate, purposeful and sacrificial story. First, what am I willing to live for up to and including offering my mortal life to it, whatever it is. Second, what is the purpose of my life in terms of teaching, transitioning, and – God Willing – transforming the world through my daily participation in it? What do I believe in despite all risks, despite all costs, dying to self, beyond sadness and joy? Why is my voice singing in the human choir on this planet today? What is within my sphere of influence? What isn’t?
I also woke up in a world where my garden flowers needed water. I have to take one of my cats to the veterinarian for a sore spot on his chest. I live in a world where I can freely write my musings, shop at dozens of stores within a dozen miles of my residence and mail an important piece of correspondence to Ohio and have it get there via priority mail. I, along with millions of Americans, will celebrate the 4th of July weekend. I will experience the frivolity of grackles eating at my birdfeeders despite all of the preventative measures I have taken so far to dissuade them. I will worship a God this weekend who I struggle to understand and believe in even as I ponder and document my new narrative based upon what I value and uphold in the God that I yearn to trust my life with each day. I will recite The Lord’s Prayer at noontime and before I sleep. In some ways, I may even live into its realities more so that the leaders of this nation and the hosts of MSNBC’s talk shows. Maybe not….
More will come in a couple days’ worth of existence.
Blessings along The Way…