Our collective panic is hurting us. Can faith help?
“Do we lean in, or blame society?” We don’t need a solution that addresses either/or. With many structural inequities, injustices, and cruelty, the answer is both/and. Do we feed the homeless, or advocate for a society that no longer produces so many homeless people? Do we protest the death of one young black man, or do we work to change the brutal policing system? Do we send the people in Flint bottled water, or do we fix the pipes? The answer to all of these is yes and yes.
The prospect of Syrian refugees entering the U.S. has unleashed a wave of fear. But fear, while understandable, is an unreliable guide to policy.
Like many others, I have lived the last few weeks from one devastating news event to the next, aching for the people lost and left hurting from mass shootings, trying to imagine myself into the shoes of refugees and those caught in the Syrian War, letting the pain of Paris, San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, and the U.S. presidential campaign compound my sense of the world’s terrors, wondering if I can do something to stop the madness. But while these thoughts have been in my head, I encountered, or re-encountered, a powerful song.
Religious people have been their own worst enemies in recent weeks. First came a study from the journal Current Biology showing that children from religious families are less generous and more punitive than their peers, and that the more exposure to religion they received, the worse they behaved.
Jesus went slowly, purposefully into the eye of the storm. Only through the storm would he find what he was looking for.
A hundred times I warned my kids about that stretch of road. A dozen times I inquired about streetlights, or reflectors, or anything in that tunnel.
These Gospel stories can seem so familiar. But sit with the disciples in the little wooden boat, and Jesus' power will render you speechless.
Our brains are wired to allow us to read each other's minds, to feel each other's person.