A world governed by power and the need for immediate dramatic results makes us feel ashamed to put our trust in small acts of love and kindness. As a result, our shame often leads us to abandon this “inconsequential” way, and long to be part of some dramatic movement that will change things over night. Of course, no such dramatic way is given, and we simply end up tired and frustrated.
Despite the fact that Americans spend more time and money in search of happiness than any other people on earth, research shows that the United States is one of the least contented, most anxious countries in the developed world.”
There is certainly something to be said for not letting fear carry the day. But I wonder if in our rush to move on, we fail to take time to lament this “new normal.” What if we gathered together as a worshiping community and offered our own psalms of lament and other prayers that give voice to our grief and anger?
These Wednesday evenings are surely a glimpse of the kind of world God desires. There in one room are people from the Sudan, Uzbekistan, Ethiopia, Turkey, Palestine, El Salvador, Syria, and the United States enjoying one another and living in peace. There in one room are people from different religions enjoying one another and living in peace. There in one room are people with different colored skin enjoying one another and living in peace.
Some of the fastest growing churches in the country have statements of faith that make it clear that believing in Jesus is the only way to avoid eternal punishment in Hell. The general tenor of these statements of faith leave little room for ambiguity. Although they may pay lip service to God’s unfathomable, mysterious nature, there is nothing ambiguous about their core convictions...I must say that I find such certainty—let alone the view that all non-believers are consigned to Hell—extraordinarily unhelpful.
According to Suniya Luthar, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University, although kids of all economic backgrounds experience anxiety, privileged youth are some of the most stressed out kids in this country. The biggest single stressor is that they “never get to the point where they can say, ‘I’ve done enough, and now I can stop.'"
When we feel down and despondent, we naturally look for a cause and when we can’t find it we wonder what is up... Could it be that the source of much anguish today is not a particular change in someone’s personal life, but our response to a whole host of troubling developments in our world?
Whatever else the Bible gives us, it doesn’t give us “airbrushed” characters. There is no attempt to “conceal defects beneath a bland exterior.” The Bible gives us human beings in all their flawed and blemished humanity. What a breath of fresh air!
When we look back at The Episcopal Church's periods of growth in members, wealth and influence, was the church “becoming strangers to the massive social inequity and outrageous poverty” in our midst, and is that why our witness has become increasingly irrelevant to many?
If your expectations for God, the church and yourself aren’t working right now, can you let those expectations die and wait for something better to be given to you?