The challenge of working together

This past week I wrote several blogs about Christmas movies.  Evenings when I am home alone I often quilt and watch TV.  So many of our TV programs glorify the worst of humanity, the darkness, hate, fear, and anxiety that is so prevalent everywhere.  Christmas movies make a nice change from who done-its, even if they assume that everyone is rich or middle class and that we can live happily after — right after Santa Claus arrives with the right presents and boy finally kisses girl.  

To be honest, I don’t want to watch a realistic depiction of the Christmas narratives, as that would be simply too uncomfortable.  Which brings me back to my questions.  Why are we so reluctant to work together?  Why are we so quick to blame others?  Why is it so easy to hate, say, the Palestinians or the Jews without ever having interacted with them?  Or ex-offenders, or the homeless, or someone from a different race or religion?   And yet, just as the Bible shows us how to have a better world,  I am finding that these silly movies remind me that we all inherently know what is right and good and possible. It’s doing it that’s hard.

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In the end, I don’t need the Bible to be infallible or literally true to inspire me.  The power of the stories, parables, and accounts inspires me to challenge the status quo to share my experiences and questions. Along with all of the hints and clues God offers us in this treasure hunt we call life and faith, the Christmas narratives are designed to show us how to treat others even in difficult situations.  It calls us to experience ourselves as loved and valued, how to accept the world as it is, not as we would have it — all as preparation for courageously stepping out and speaking out against the unnecessary fighting and suffering that is all too prevalent everywhere, it seems.  Just take gun violence as an example that has become so prevalent in the US that it barely makes the news anymore.  

As I read the stories in Matthew and Luke, I am reminded that I can’t fix our broken world, but I can seek to improve myself, which will have an impact, however small.  I have to accept hardship and challenge as the necessary pathway to the inner peace I long for.  Life’s difficulties are rarely as easily fixed as they are in the Christmas movies because the kind of peacemaking that makes real change will always stir things up and create new complications and difficulties because it challenges the status quo and the many inequities we who are white and wealthy consider normal and need things to be if we are to remain powerful and in control.  

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