Reality Is Good

Reality Is Good

Reblogged from: Orange Community of Christ’s “Peace Blog”

by KATIE HARMON-MCLAUGHLIN
Orange, California, USA
Monday, November 7, 2011

“It is those moments of illumination when one has a glimpse of something better: another possibility, another way to live, another reading of reality beyond the usual one of distrust, fear, and hostility. We realize then that if we are to say that reality is good, we must help those glimmers and glimpses become stronger: we must help reality to be good.

The embodiment of God in the world is both an illumination of hope and a call to heal the pain of the suffering world. The affirmation that reality is good means that God is with us and that we must therefore be with God. Divine incarnation combined with our response of prophetic action on the side of the oppressed is the way that we can say, ‘Yes, reality is good.’”
-Sallie McFague, Life Abundant: Rethinking Theology and Economy For a Planet in Peril, P.155

Russia warns Israel against Iran attack. Squeezing Iran: Oil and Sanctions. Berlusconi teeters amid debt crisis. Fourth Woman accuses Herman Cain [of sexual harassment]. Liberia poll protest turns deadly. Bangkok flood evacuation widens. Jackson doctor jury to reconvene. ‘Inaction’ Empowered ‘Child Predator.’ Missing Mom’s Family: She’d Never Leave Her Kids.

These are some of the headlines from the news today, November 7, 2011, from multiple news sources: BBC, Fox News, & CNN. There are moments when I am overwhelmed by the amount of negativity, hatred, polarization, & fear that spew from our media every single day. It makes working for a better world seem nearly impossible. It makes disaster feel immanent. Certainly, it tightens the boundaries that we build between one another out of our perception of the necessity for survival. We hear common phrases right now like, “In economic times like these, I can’t be as generous.” With the gap in the United States widening between the rich and the poor, the alleviation of homeless and hunger seems to be a distant dream. Crowds of people are occupying wall street. I listen on NPR as I drive in my oil-fueled car across Southern California. Is everything just hopeless?

It seems like I am so caught up in the systems that oppress and marginalize, that daily destroy our earth, that to loosen one thread would unravel my whole life as I know it. I speak about radical change, and yet I am terrified of it. I am terrified of the implications of living my ethics to the fullest. I relate to Paul in Romans 7, “I do not understand my own actions… for I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive…” It is easy to spiral out of control in a self-loathing, society-loathing despair.

But then a good friend comes to visit. We go for a walk in the morning and talk about spirit. We open up to one another in authentic relationship. We say “good morning” to the people we pass, and they respond with smiles. As we pass a man working on an electrical box, we are talking about the need to respond to homelessness and hunger. For a moment, I hope he is eavesdropping. I realize that I want someone else to hear my desire to make the world a more peaceful place. I hope the whole world is eavesdropping on every conversation about love and peace that I have. We need to hear those fragments, those glimpses, those rumors of a better life. We need to know in our deepest selves, despite what we hear from the media every day, that reality is essentially good.

Yet, we must work to make it good as well. We must have the kind of conversations that we would want the world to eavesdrop on. We must celebrate acts of peace and love even as we hear about death and destruction on the news. We must rejoice in changing our lives, one small step at a time, toward the flourishing of all life. “Like a short, but heartfelt prayer, a daily ten minutes of meditation, a brief reading from the psalms, each act of resistance can be a small but loving acknowledgement of our yearning to join the best within us to the best for others.” (Roger Gottlieb)

We must hold on to hope. And give others in the world reason to hope as well. Our God is in the world, constantly creating opportunities for peace to be realized and acted on. Reality is good. Let’s live into the fullness of its goodness together.

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