Monday, June 18, 2018

Stirring in my Heart

Embracing our brokenness creates a need for mercy. . . . I began thinking about what would happen if we all just acknowledged our brokenness, if we owned up to our weaknesses, our deficits, our biases, our fears. Maybe if we did, we wouldn’t want to kill the broken among us who have killed others. Maybe we would look harder for solutions to caring for the disabled, the abused, the neglected, and the traumatized. . . . We could no longer take pride in mass incarceration, in executing people, in our deliberate indifference to the most vulnerable.  Bryan Stevenson

Owning our weaknesses is not something we are taught in school or in our work life.  We are taught instead to deflect/defend/dismiss/discredit.  We are taught to blame others.  We are taught to point fingers and say, "They are the problem."

This is not unique to the 21st Century.  When a fire destroyed much of Rome in 64 C.E., Nero blamed Christians for causing it...even though there are some historians who suggest that Nero might have been responsible.  When Christianity became the state-endorsed religion under Constantine, our ancestors blamed our Jewish brothers and sisters for crucifying Jesus.  In the US, we continually blame the latest waves of immigrants for the problems (some may even remember the signs that would read, "No Irish Need Apply" that hung outside shops years ago).  Today, our two political parties blame each other for the slightest mistake.   The cycle is replayed and repeated.

Partly because we don't admit/accept our own brokenness.

We are playing a zero sum game where I need to get ahead by any means necessary and if I don't than you may end up with the nicer car/job/fame/fortune.

Yet, is that really what we are able in this world?

Am I really just my bank account balance?  Or what kind of phone I have?  Or what I hold onto as my opinion?

Am I something more? 

If we saw ourselves as both blessed and broken; we might be able to see others that way too.  If we quit trying to make ourselves look better by putting another person down, we might start to live a different way.  To get out of the dualistic mind of winners and losers is not only faithful from many different religious perspectives, it is actually what can connect us in our shared humanity.

May you and I have more than a trace of God's grace to let these words stir in our hearts and soak in our souls in these days.

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