Author, educator, and human potential specialist Joseph Chilton Pearce has asked, “Why, with a history so rich in noble ideals and lofty philosophies that reach for the transcendent, do we exhibit such abominable behaviors? Our violence toward ourselves and the planet is an issue that overshadows and makes a mockery of all our high aspirations.”
There are plenty of people around doing good deeds, making meaningful contributions in the world. They are caring, loving people with the kindest intentions demonstrating the richness of our human capacities.
But why aren’t we all that way? And what is it about the ugliness of life, the brutality and viciousness of people that fascinates and too often entertains us?
This business with Congress, upholding vital legislation in order to what? Play games with one another? Foil the legacy of President Obama? Pretend they are important people? What kind of gross unhealthiness is that?
They still have not provided us with a national budget and slowly many of our most vulnerable citizens are feeling the pain of having reduced services or completely losing them altogether; critical services they need.
Congress voted down the most innocuous gun legislation imaginable. It had no impact on current gun owners but would have expanded background checks on future purchasers in a way that might very well have stopped many criminals or those with psychiatric issues from easily possessing guns as they are now able to do. The bill failed and so did Congress.
There is still no new, useful, intelligent immigration policy being seriously presented. Just political talking points for political speeches and the never ending political campaigns.
Both political parties are abysmally dysfunctional. The Republicans are on some kind of freakish 13 year ego ride that has them incapable of responsible cooperation and sensible actions. The Democrats don’t seem to know what winning means; they appear shrouded in passivity wandering about crossing their fingers that their great ideas will be acceptable to their inattentive colleagues, which of course is never going to happen.
Our religious institutions are fraught with a bewildering intolerance, a silly self-righteousness, and often responses that just seem completely contrary to the spirit of religion, which I always thought to be redemptive, healing, and affirming. Gay marriage and gay people especially somehow appear to pose some cataclysmic threat to many in the church today. Don’t get me wrong, there are loving congregations in this country providing valuable spiritual guidance and actually doing authentic diverse social ministry in hard places. But for far too many, it seems to me, certainly the ones we hear about, a lot of churches and church leaders seem to have left Christ out of the center of their beliefs. For them church is about partisan politics, material wealth (greed), some kind of artificial Hollywood worship services, and the promotion of tired, narrow ideas that no longer work in real life.
Someone has said that all of human history has been a struggle between wisdom and stupidity. We seem to be stuck in the stupid stage.
Children are viciously massacred in their school rooms and we’d rather dismiss that than pass tougher background checks legislation. Wall Street insolently struts around in obscene, lazy, often fraudulent riches railing about taxes without contributing anything to the growth of a fatigued economy. Twelve million immigrants could legally enter the work force and be official citizens if we had the guts to treat them humanely but instead we use them for political fodder and illogically disregard their vast potential.
A first century unknown female poet wrote:
“What we have learned
Is like a handful of earth;
What we have yet to learn
Is like the whole world.”
My God, how we have so much yet to learn. Darwin would be in despair over us. We can’t seem to evolve enough to keep from hurting one another. Jesus must still be weeping over Jerusalem and the US. He’s still waiting for someone to pursue peace in the world.
There is a line out of Pearl Jam’s song, “Wishlist,” that says, “I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good.” What a calling that would be.
We have so much yet to learn.
© 2013 Timothy Moody