A lot of interesting things are happening in the movements for change in our society. Videos are going viral, the Occupy movement continues, we’ve experienced an Arab Spring, and our nation is divided so much about issues (like wealth, poverty, war, abortion, contraception and sexuality) that I’m beginning to wonder if the two-party political system is failing.
General global consciousness is awakening. More people seem to be concerned and talking about social problems and issues of morality than I can remember happening in the past. Naturally when we start discussing the things of right and wrong, we begin talking about God and religion. Our true human nature drives us to desire justice. For Christians like me we learn what real justice is by looking to Jesus.
Many of the debates are very heated because there’s a lot of passion surrounding the topics people are concerned about. The topics of contraception, abortion, the treatment of the poor, the rights of women and human rights in general are pretty big deals. Tension and chaos are getting us uptight. The debate can be overwhelming, confusing and complicated. Are there easy answers? Can there be?
About the viral video this week- all about children soldiers in Uganda- (Kony 2012) the CEO of Invisible Children made an important statement about the video’s popularity: “The core message is just to show that there are few times where problems are black and white. There’s lots of complicated stuff in the world, but Joseph Kony and what he’s doing is black and white,” – Ben Keesey
I think it’s true that the global, human family is hungry for some simple black and white morality. We want some things to be cut and dry. Ah, it’s a beautiful day! Wow, the sun is shining! How wonderful, I can see clearly now! When things seem clear, we feel refreshed.
The thing is, helping things be better means that we can’t stay cozy. Our thinking doesn’t always stay clear when we let ourselves really get into it all. Actually, to really effect change we need to turn toward the darkness. We need to face the ugly, awful truth that people are suffering and sin is destructive. We need to learn the facts. We need to do social analysis and learn different perspectives. We must be willing to get into the cracks of civilization where it’s complicated and uncomfortable. We often play a part in the systems of violence without knowing it. It’s haunting and humbling to know that we are part of a human family who is- in part- quite awful. Facing the despair is Messy Jesus Business and it’s the stuff of the season of Lent.
Alas, we learn about the ugly and the awful but we don’t stall in it so long that we become infected with depression. We become motivated to work hard because we want a better world.
We desire to see the Kingdom of God and really know peace on earth. We want change. We want things to be fair for everyone and we want to preserve rights and freedom. We believe that all people matter. The power of the Kony 2012 video- and its cries for action- is that it is organized and direct. We are made to believe that we can create change and are shown how.
We can join our diverse human family and build a kindom of equality, peace and justice – a real Easter message. Thank God, we’re on our way. We know that Jesus shall rise and Love and Life shall conquer death and evil. This great arrival of God’s glory is something we want to get really ready for. We’re trying to get ready for this joy we’ll know when justice reigns. We’re fasting, praying, giving alms, serving and living in solidarity with those who suffer. Or, we’re trying our best to do the Lenten actions and accepting the fact that we keep falling a bit short.
So our Lenten work continues and we keep gaining awareness. Our personal conversions create cultural conversions, and together we’re truly working for change. As we reside in the challenging space of the Lenten desert where things are ugly and true, we all are getting ready to experience the fullness of God’s goodness. For that we shall be grateful and for that we shall keep trying. As we do this work, we remain aware that God is with us, no matter how ugly the world may be.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lmiersbond/4709653204/