Skip to main content

We Must Gather Again and Mend

In general, but not in particular, because there are many opposite examples, but generally speaking, we are a nation of lazy, greedy citizens.

Our laziness resides in the fact that we continue, year after drubbing year, to tolerate a Congress that is 98% corrupt and in the pockets of huge corporations, including Wall Street banks and the giant tech companies, not to mention the entire network of media communications.

Our indifference to the blathering incompetence and the arrogant disregard of representative government by so many senators and House members in both parties is staggering. That we as a people allow this says something alarming about our character.

Leo Tolstoy, the brilliant Russian novelist, once wrote in one of his many essays, “If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” 

And if we were to take to heart that wise advice, what would we see? A society in crisis.

Because of technology, especially the proliferation of the smartphone and social media, we have lost ourselves in a haze of distractions. We don’t seem to care that our nation is not producing anything. Our greatest products are financial—stocks, derivatives, commodities—investments in anything and everything other than our own infrastructure, our own people, our own future.

Our streets, bridges, and freeways are crumbling while billions of dollars are poured into more high-rise condos, huge office complexes, and corporate towers. Beyond that, billions of tax dollars fund a defense budget that climbs into the stratosphere, what poet Wendell Berry calls “another transaction in the commerce of violence.”

We are hopelessly divided as a people, refusing to be coaxed into cooperation. We are militarized. We are angry. We are spiritually empty and mindlessly disarranged.

Do we not see this?

Apathy cultivates ignorance, and unless we care about the state of our nation, the gobbling up of our resources by the ravenous greed of those now running the country, then we are destined for misery and failure.

Call this whatever you choose, but sin, bad behavior, wrongdoing, evil, is not original in us from birth. It is originated by us in our lifetime. It is not our nature to be self-destructive. We have accepted that as our fate by the misguided and the manipulative and it may one day end us if we continue to believe it. We are always at the mercy of our choices. And we can do better if we want to, if we decide to. We’re not required to live this way because of some moral flaw. If this is our karma then it’s the result of our own choices.

Novelist Raphael Lafferty has written, “To you who are scattered and broken, gather again and mend. Rebuild always, and again I say rebuild. Renew the face of the earth. It is a loved face, but now it is covered with the webs of tired spiders.”

I have no easy answers. I am momentarily at a loss for how we rebuild what is broken and scattered. But I do know it can be done, and that we must as a nation find ways to begin it now. And I think it starts by getting out of our laziness and greed. It’s our choice.


© 2018 Timothy Moody

Popular posts from this blog

Our National Lack of Self-esteem

There is a brokenness in our society, a pervasive moral collapse, a reckless disregard for community, neighborliness, courtesy, and compassion.
Our government leads by this example. Both parties are incompetent to guide us into a more responsible living, into a serviceable structure of humanity. Our leaders are dominated by greedy oligarchs who don’t just want more, they want everything, even if it costs our society its dignity, its soul, even its future.
What is on display here daily is a wretched lack of self-esteem. The loss now influences all of us. We’re all affected in ways that keep us shamed by our actions.
When we feel powerless, aimless, without any higher goals than the accumulation of things and the momentary thrill, we then mute our intelligence. We live by raw emotions—anger, appetite, urges. We don’t think, we don’t consider, we merely react. We push. We disregard. We threaten. We act out. And we fail.
Self-esteem is a learned process. It builds on genuine successes that ar…

Is the Soul Solid, like Iron?

Mary Oliver has a beautiful little poem in which she asks:

“Is the soul solid, like iron?
or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?”

It is both.

The soul, we are told by philosophers, theologians, and mystics, is our essence, the permanence of our true self. It is that part of us that lives beyond death. Or so we are taught by religion. Where exactly the soul exists beyond that, has of course, been long debated.

There are times in life when something deep within us is, as Mary Oliver says, solid as iron and we operate out of some sense of aliveness, confidence, and inner strength. It may be fleeting, but there when needed; or it may carry us through long periods of endurance when we build a sturdy self, confident and capable of our abilities and talents.

This is the work of the soul. This is a part of our spiritual development. This is what enables us to believe there are forces in life, loving and generous and mystical, that nurture and compel us tow…

The Light in the Faces of Our Incredible Human Family

National Geographic Journalist Paul Salopek is walking across the world on foot to trace the pathways of the first humans who wandered out of Africa in the Stone Age to claim the earth as theirs. His journey will cover 21,000 miles and is estimated to take 10 years. He is four years into his massive expedition and already he has discovered that humanity is mostly kind and generous, welcoming and caring, hard-working and disciplined.
I watched a brief piece about Salopek’s journey on the PBS News Hour this week. I have included a link below.
What is extraordinary about his adventure is his realization that in spite of all the wars and turmoil across the globe, he has learned that “The world is an incredibly hospitable place.” In following the ancient trade route called “The Silk Road,” Salopek has gotten to know a variety of people young and old. And though he has so far encountered a few dangerous situations where he had his water supply stolen, was once ambushed by raiders, and was sho…