“Spent the evening building deeper relationships with 4 parishioners over bread & salad. When the macro is overwhelming, switch to the micro.”
I am just going to be honest
Pretty much since November 8, 2016, the macro reality of what we have done to ourselves as a nation has threatened to consume me. My heart has been broken a hundred thousand times over (at the minimum,) and I find myself feeling as if I am carrying an elephant on my back as I go about my days – hunched over, short on breath, labored movements.
Perhaps the most crushing aspect of this whole debacle – because what else could it be called? – is that my root faith tradition -(white evangelical Christians) – a tradition that birthed me and nurtured me in the ways of grace and hope and love love love for everyone – played a large role in the bold-face, unapologetic glorification of everything I believe Christ came to free us from;
The building of empires, the promotion of hatred, division, and prejudice, a scarcity mentality, manifest destiny, the belief that anything is “ours” to protect, hearts filled with callousness, and pride….
In the months since that day in November when the world turned upside down, things have not gotten better. There has been no collective release of pinched shoulders, no huge sigh of relief that those of us opposed had over-reacted.
Instead things have steadily gotten worse.
The hatred and division continue to grow and spill over into every crevice it can find.
Justification and pride and defensiveness often seem to be ruling the day.
It has gotten so bad that even white pride marches of men with torches and cars being driven into peaceful protesters and the exclusion of capable and sacrificial service persons from their calling, cannot bring about a spirit of humility and repentance from so many who profess to follow Christ.
I keep waiting for the day when the status updates of people I love and respect, but who to my complete mystification helped bring about this free-for-all atmosphere of hatred, bigotry, and pride-before-love, through their vote, read “I am so sorry. I had no idea. What can I do to help?” But I wait in vain. They never come. The defending has mostly stopped, but the ownership, the apologies, they have not materialized.
When did the refusal to observe a posture of humility in admitting a mistake has been made, become a hill half a nation – or even one large section of Christianity – was willing to die on?
I cannot wrap my mind around it. And yet I MUST continue to look at it, to face it head on, to not look away or hide from it.
I have to stare this ugliness straight in the face or slink back into the shadows, becoming part of the problem. For me, those are the only two options left.
And now here is Harvey.
On the very heels of hate and bigotry comes destruction and displacement and helplessness.
Harvey is ravaging the homes and lives of so many. So more many than I can comprehend.
Homes, businesses, lives lost. So much loss. So much devastation.
The macro is overwhelming. Despite doing all I can find to do -using my words, my money, my presence, and my prayers to bring about change -on a daily basis, the macro is still so MACRO.
Which is why, as the Vicar from the North said, I need to also go micro.
After all it is on the micro level that healing and wholeness are brought into the world.
It is in the micro that the Holy Spirit works. The micro is where we learn to live and move and have our being in Christ.
In the midst of the micro is where the scales fall from our eyes, and the logs are removed, and the stones are put down.
In the micro is where the spirit of God in me meets the spirit of God in you and all of heaven dances.
Now, as my Sweet Man will tell you, we have no more room in our schedule for another thing.
Not. One. More. Thing,
But this is an emergency situation and frankly, in emergency situations schedules and temperance be damned.
Yesterday, the Houston Police department put out a call on Twitter for people with boats. They need boats to use in rescue efforts. Boats to charter down previously calm neighborhoods streets to rescue grandmothers and babies and surly teenagers from their homes. Boats to go places where a boat should never have to go – around a cul-de-sac, through a school parking lot, past a church.
One boat at a time, rescuing one family at a time in the middle of a flood.
It doesn’t get much more micro in the macro than that.
As a Christ follower and a practitioner of Benedictine living, I believe the following:
I believe that God has called me to the place where I live and the people I live with and near.
I believe that it is through these relationships – both to the place and the people – that God will bring about wholeness.
And I believe that listening is always the place that the Holy Spirit leads us to begin.
And as it turns out, I have a boat.
I also have a table. Or two. Or three.
I have couches, and chairs, and benches.
I have a porch with a swing and two rocking chairs.
I have a working stove and a grill and a microwave.
I also have a strong body.
I have able hands and feet.
I have smiles and laughter and the ability to listen.
I have a warm dry bed and solid working plumbing.
Yes, I am busy. Yes, the macro is crushing me and all I want to do is bunker down, hide out until the storm passes and watch British television.
But that won’t heal me. And it sure won’t heal my neighbor.
So, I am going to get off my couch and go work the concession stand at the junior high football games, serving with and serving to my community – a community filled with people who believe and live very differently from me. A community who helped to bring about the very elephant I am carrying on my back.
We are going to open our couches and our table twice a month to an intentional small group.
We are going to open our gardens and our pond and our land to whomever needs a respite, a pumpkin, a free fishing hole, a dry place to land.
We are going to invite others over to break bread and eat salad and make s’mores and we are not worry so much about the dust bunnies.
And it is going to be so very, very inconvenient at times.
And I am going to be so very, very tired some days.
(Obviously we will be tired – judging by how many times the disciples had to be woken up, following Jesus is EXHAUSTING work.)
I am going to cry at some point because I have bitten off too much.
And messy. Things are going to be messy. My house, my heart, our relationships.
Because despite a thorough search through the gospels, I cannot find any other solution to healing the macro, other than through nurturing the micro.
It is the way God heals the world. It is how Christ imparts grace. It is how the Holy Spirit empowers the forgotten.
It is the boat in the cul-de-sac-turned river.
So maybe the next chapter. . .❤️
Thank you for this post, even though it opened the floodgate for my tears. I’ve been working on the micro too, and feeling like it’s never enough. Thank you for affirming that. It is enough. When I chose “WHOLE” as my one little word this year, who knew the macro would look like this 9 months in? Things will not go back to the way they were, and perhaps it’s in the micro that the something new is being created. My first grandchild was born 48 hours ago. Let us hope.
Jo Kiel says
You’ve captured the zeitgeist. Many of us are appalled and waiting for vindication, yet fearful that such vindication could have calamitous consequences. A “so sorry I ushered this era with my vote or appeasement” would be gratifying yet it’s not forthcoming. I’ve struggled to manage the right attitude. Ignore the issues? Turn the other cheeck? Merchants felt Christ’s chastisement at the temple door so anger isn’t anti-Christian. And yet,…. Christians form the core Following that continue to approve and reward things that fuel more outrageous acts. Do you really believe we can change hearts and minds with acts of kindness as you plan to do? I ferverently hope you’re right and it’s action. Elizabeth Harrell recently published pictures of white nationalist billboards that she saw in her summer travel to Arkansas. It’s impossible to comprehend. Living in south Texas, I’m surprised I haven’t seen the same. Thank you for thiis post!
Thank you for this. For all of it.