I have been earnest about more things than I can remember. I AM earnest now about a number of things. But I am starting to realize that the more earnest I am, the more damage I will do. Isn’t it true that the most hurt and pain in communities and the world has come about because of people’s (religions, governments, etc) earnestness for their specific way? We need others to see the world from our perspective. We need them to believe what we believe. We need them to live like we live. Ok, maybe we wouldn’t say we “need” them to be a certain way. Maybe we “demand,” we “insist,” we “plead”… and then we try to fix… or persuade… or imply…
Because, we know better than the other how they should live their lives. Or we know better what God wants for someone’s life. I think the easiest thing the earnest do is to pray. Oh yes, they pray and pray. They feel the pain of their prayers… they pray in earnest. But how do they know that what they are praying for, what they feel so strongly, is what God really wants? I am not saying that I don’t believe in prayer and I’m not saying we shouldn’t pray in earnest… we just must be aware of why we are doing it.
As soon as we NEED someone to be a certain way, we are in trouble. As soon as we NEED God to do make a certain change, we are in trouble. When we NEED something to be a certain way, it is no longer about the other, it is no longer about the Earth, it is no longer about God… it is about US!
Religion, economy, and government have been the prime perpetrators of this earnestness throughout our history… or should I say money, power, “Truth,” and sexuality… we have done so much harm in the world. Something, something must change.
We need to start taking responsibility for ourselves, being accountable to each other, as citizens… not relying on the “leaders” to get the job done (the “right” pastor, the “right” president). We need to start talking about the possibilities of what we can do together rather than the problems (of the other guy, or of ourselves) that need to be fixed. We need to practice hospitality rather than fear (of our neighbor… globally… other religions, nationalities, economic class, etc).
Do I say these things in earnestness? Well… I suppose I do… although I don’t NEED everyone else to be this way in order to do it myself, in order to change the conversations we are having in our own community. I can say, though, that the world itself needs people to shift their perspective. I can say that matter-of-factly, without any personal agenda, that if we do not change, if we do not, we are in serious trouble.