On the Corner
BY ROBERT DOCTER –
Welcome 2002–you delightful palindrome, you. You read the same way no matter how we look at you. We won’t see your like for another 110 years. You’re just like–like–BOB.
Welcome 2002! This is a time to wonder what lies ahead–to take stock, to inventory, to evaluate ourselves– our worldview–our relationships–our values, attitudes, beliefs–our Army– our connection to God. This is a time to figure out where we’ve been–where we are now–and where we’re going.
Welcome 2002. Your numbers have a nice balance, a delightful symmetry, a pleasing harmony. Let’s hope we’re all able to reflect similar aspects of personality throughout the year. Let’s agree to work to make those characteristics visible in a balanced desire for personal growth–spiritually, socially, mentally, physically, emotionally. Let’s remember that balance indicates maturity–not chronological age.
Let’s establish some norms–some rules to live by in 2002. Let’s agree right now we’re going to try to avoid judgmentalism–the expression as fact of a negative point of view about another human being that is actually only a personal opinion–often gained through hearsay–in other words, gossip.
Let’s agree right now we will act without prejudice–the assumption without evidence of a negative difference that leads to racism, ethnocentrism, sexism, ageism.
Let’s agree to abandon narrow, rigid, man-made rules of a rigid “fundamentalism” because they blind us from seeing and experiencing the love and grace of God within our own lives.
Let’s agree to get out of the dark. People who walk around in the dark don’t know where they are going. Avoiding the darkness is achieved by having the true light of God radiate from within us.
Let’s strive to keep our focus on the principles of our mission–the glorification of God through commitment to his Son’s revelation of his Father’s essence. Charles Wesley got it right. We have a charge to keep–to serve the present age through the consistent sharing of Christian love motivated by the presence of God within us. That’s the calling we must fulfill, and it is by that calling we are measured–to that calling we are held accountable. Humankind continually errs in believing human effort and zeal alone must accomplish this loving service, thus, leaving God out of the picture. We need to truly conceptualize the nature of God. We can do that by internalizing and imitating God incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ.
So–what is the “present age”–and how should we serve it?
It’s new. It’s different. It ain’t yesteryear. It’s click-quick, changing at gig-a-byte speed, technical, scientific, youth oriented and very hard on the “marginalized” of society.
Unfortunately, it’s not a good time to be homeless, out of work, perceived as old, or presumed to be “different.” It’s a great time to be young, bright, focused, male, goal oriented, solvent, and carrying around the same labels as everyone else.
The “present age” is not always an easy place to be. It brings some heavy science with it that speeds us up, expands our time, gives the appearance of making life easier while actually only making it more complex. It gives us more time to make bad choices.
It means change–and change is unsettling. Exploding areas of new science raise questions of life and death, of sickness and health, of the state of our shrinking world. The thundering juggernaught of science is unstoppable. Would we want it otherwise?
Nevertheless, science seems to frighten us. On occasion, it seems to attack some of our core beliefs. The discoveries made often result in significant change. We forget that life is non-linear–beyond simple cause and effect. Actions spin out and take on a life of their own. Often, we find this scary. This fear, then, requires us to resist the change that seems to question blind allegiance to a now vulnerable point of view. I call this the “Galilein syndrome.” I named it after Galileo Galilei. In 1609 he proclaimed that the sun was actually the center of the universe–not the earth. Religious fundamentalist disagreed, tried him and pronounced him guilty. If he hadn’t quickly abandoned this view he’d have been burned at the stake. The church finally pardoned him in 1991, the year science first linked some homosexuality to a genetic origin–our generation’s heliocentric enigma.
God’s love knows no limits. It’s without measure. It is open to all who truly seek him–and if they do–they shall ever truly find him–even faster than gig-a-byte speed.
Let’s agree to serve the present age.
Happy New Year.