Friday, December 05, 2008

The times--are they a'changin'?

Lately I've been thinking about change. And not just because of Obama. It seems we humans are either proactive or reactive when it comes to change--I know: "Duh!". But it's very hard for us to be proactive. We'd rather skate along, get by, until we are forced to do something. The levees in New Orleans, Bush in the White House until '08, the depletion of natural resources, global warming; the list goes on and on.

What worries me is that it will take a cataclysmic event for us to form actual communities, grow our own produce, generate our own energy, give generously, buy locally, topple corporations and the might of empire; in short, create an ever-expanding ring of care and love, revealing God among us. Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.

We've already had several of these events in recent years (and they're getting worse), but they really haven't made a dent in our global, or even national, behavior. Ironically, war once had the ability to make a sizeable cohesion in our consciousness: food and fuel were rationed, resources were pooled and materials recycled or reused, sacrifices were made not just by some but by everyone. Not once has our current president demanded that we reduce our fuel consumption or any kind of the endless consumption this country seems to be about. Yes, we were strongly urged, but as much as we are reactive to change, we are also resistant--we have to be told what to do and why.

Nobody likes being told what to do, but really, can we afford to be so tolerant, polite and reluctant anymore? Congress must work with President-elect Obama and work hard. Money spent on war and on keeping millionaires and billionaires afloat needs to be spent on the levees in New Orleans, on education and health care, on eradicating AIDS in Africa and around the world, on making food available for every person on this planet, on creating renewable energy sources and allowing forests and mountaintops to recover from humanity's rape of them, on ending terrorism by making amends for our dominating ways as an empire.

The American empire is a direct descendant of Rome and Caesar, hence, the antithesis of the kingdom of God, that Beloved Community for which Jesus was crucified. Telling people how to live and how to resist the ways of empire was what Jesus and the prophets were all about. There is a parallel here I'm not sure I want to be around for.

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