I was speaking to someone today and we were both wondering why our generation (60+) has less trouble tolerating the vagaries and foibles of various churches. We each do not attend one that totally offends us but we take for granted that none is perfect. We just seek out the one whose values are closest to our own.
I think that over the years I have sought a place where I can feel accepted and supported. I have a need to be in a Christian community. I would imagine that may be true of anyone in any faith. I don’t spend time pointing out my differences of opinion or the places where I see the train running off the track. I am entitled to my own thinking however strange it may be to someone else.
This way of belonging has taken a big hit. More people are anxious to find differences are dwell on them. It’s as if they don’t want any kind of community. The sad part is I don’t think we are by nature loners. We need others for our survival and sanity. At least I do. When things go wrong in my life it is those others who will help me to weather the storm. They may not all be my very best friends but they will go out of their way to help.
I seems that my generation is more willing to compromise and understands that nothing in the world is perfect.
Today I heard and interesting statement. “Laws are based upon values and then support the values.” This thought has made me think about how things are changing in our country and other parts of the world.
The phrase came in church after an discussion of The Leverite Law in Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 25:5-10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
5 When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage, and performing the duty of a husband’s brother to her, 6 and the firstborn whom she bears shall succeed to the name of the deceased brother, so that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.
Times have changed since this was in effect. The woman was not considered at all. Now our laws recognize women as equal.
However, as we look at the initial quote we begin to question exactly what the values are today. So many are changing so fast that we can’t keep up with them and are part of our divisions. Even various religious denominations have switched from one idea to another. The earlier position of life at first breath came from the Bible: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen 2:7
It is debated if the shift to life at conception was a political one or a change due to science or some other influence. Either way it was a big shift that has led to a conflicted country regarding abortion.
This is just an example of how “Laws are based upon values and then support the values.” I never thought of it from this perspective and it is interesting to do so.
Today I wrote on my other blog about the erosion of Christianity happening in our society. This erosion is also true in other areas of our lives. We have already lost so much of our moral sense and what behavior is acceptable.
Rudeness and uncaring have become the order of the day. Anger is rampant. We have a society of entitlement and very little else matters.
Our media is violent, making us tolerant of almost any kind of atrocity. The news is biased to the point of the ridiculous. In fact it should not be called news but opinion. Children have to be taught that what they hear and see must be scrutinized carefully to determine its veracity. Most of them accept what they see and hear as true.
Our government is corrupt and careless of their behavior but quick to accuse opponents of the exact same thing. Hollywood idols lead youth into imitating their behavior.
The frightening thing is what to do. How do we turn things around and bring sanity and moral fibre (moral fibre (Britain) The inner strength to do what one believes to be right; often an ability to make difficult decisions.) back to our country? I wish I had an answer. Yet, I am one and I will continue to make my voice heard whether heeded or not. That is all that there is.
A “better” world is one in which we recognize that all people possess an incomparable value that we are morally obliged to respect . . . in social, political, and economic terms. Honoring the humanity of your fellow beings means that if they are hungry, ill, or oppressed, you must exert yourself to help them. . . . But this . . . runs up against our inherited instincts of self-protection, greediness, and desire to dominate others. . . . If we could rearrange energy from within—if we more often nurtured our companions and promoted their well-being, we would suffer much less. Rearranging energy from within is what mysticism does. Dr. Beatrice Bruteau (1930–2014)
This quote from the meditation of Richard Rohr really speaks to what we must do to make the world a better place. Each of us has to dig deep and find that core of humanity that allows us to respect all beings.
She is so right. Our own instincts of survival, both physically and mentally, get in our way and keep us from becoming the humans we can be. She is calling us to seek that inner place where we meet the intangible, infinite spirit….no matter what we call it.
My husband mentioned recently that he doesn’t remember people being so angry at each other when we were younger. I agree with him. I meet so many people who are angry for no reason. Today I was crossing the road from Staples to my car and there was a gentleman down from me doing the same thing. A car came up to him and honked loudly several times. He was trying to hurry but had a limp and I think was moving as fast as he could. The lady pulled in next to my car and got out. Her shirt said: “Remember be kind.” I was so tempted to say something to her but I didn’t. She needed to read her own shirt!
It is so easy to see the anger in road rage, shootings, anger in our government, and just about everywhere. What has happened? Have changes in the ways we communicate (electronically) allowed us to not be kind face to face? The treatment of each other has deteriorated drastically.
I hope that we can discover the cause of all the anger and learn new ways to get along. If not, life will continue to be scary.
What we are taught from childhood on is what carves us into the people we are now. Children absorb not only what they are told but also what they see. Their world is their home and family. What happens there sets the path.
Have we been teaching children to think only of themselves?
Have we taught intolerance?
Have we taught hatred?
Have we belittled them?
Or have we taught love?
Education is not just what we learn in school. That is important and the more we learn the more we can understand about the world around us. The more we learn about the lives of others the less likely we are to be intolerant. However, learning in early childhood is crucial.
Every kind of education is necessary to make the world a better place. We must help families to teach their children well. We need to marry what we learn at home with what we learn of the world. The more knowledge the better. Never stop learning.
In today’s world people like to play “the shame game.” We have no problem shaming someone who is not “like us.” This is rampant among teens but any of us are capable of joining in.
It is so easy to put down those who are different. Maybe they are fat, or too thin, or too black, or too white, or Muslim, or Christian, or Hindu….I could go on and on. Maybe they just don’t agree with us. We are becoming so polarized. Left vs right, Republican vs Democrat.
One of the things I have encountered recently is intolerance about my moderate position. Somewhere between the black and white there is a whole spectrum of gray. Few things in this world are a simple as black and white. Most things have layer upon layer of opinion. Each of us has to make decisions based on our upbringing, our core values and our ethical stance. A choice that may be right for me may be terribly wrong for someone else.
We are losing all respect for opinions differing from our own. It is considered fine to metaphorically hang, draw and quarter those who are different. Love, tolerance and respect have given way to hatred and abuse.
Somehow I hope the pendulum begins to swing the other way. As the population of the earth continues to grow our exposure to others will grow also. We will have to learn to respect the personal space and ability to see things differently of those around us.
I hope we can.
Years ago I had recordings by Tom Lehrer. His satiric songs always struck a chord with me. Some of them are funny but some so prophetic they are scary. The words are from the past but the idea remains. (I’m sorry to say) They would not be politically correct today but unfortunately possible. It is a reminder to us to learn to live in a world without hatred.
Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Unknown
I don’t remember where I got this quote. I just put it in my quote book. It may have comes from another blogger if so I ask forgiveness but it is just perfect.
With what has happened recently in Christ Church, New Zealand hatred has reared its ugly head. Again we have an example of how hatred destroys lives. There is so much ado when the Muslim extremists carry out a terrorist attack and it is hard to understand why the other side doesn’t see it as the same thing when they do it. Admittedly their anger did destroy others but it also will destroy them. Anger held inside will kill. Not only will it cause problems on an emotional level but it will kill due to physical changes.
I love the song from South Pacific that talks about how this gets passed down.
You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught
When will begin to understand that the world is growing smaller and smaller and we are more alike as human beings than we are different?
When will we be able to turn away from hatred and anger?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we woke up and the world had changed
no more wars
no more pain
no more anger
Wouldn’t it be amazing if everything was different
no more hatred
no more prejudice
no more discrimination
Wouldn’t it be amazing if the world was restored
no more pollution
no more un-breathable air
no more endangered species
Wouldn’t it be amazing if the people were reborn
filled with joy
filled with love
filled with celebration
Wouldn’t it be amazing
© Suzanne Boyd 2018