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My response to world today

My responsibility, your responsibility?

What has laid active underneath of the sea of our culture has now surfaced.  And I as person of this earth have only one question I must answer:

What am I really responsible for?

The explosion of celebration, fear, elation, mourning, hurt, anger, love and hate that exploded across my social media feeds has been overwhelming. So many opinions of what flags should fly and who can marry who, mixed in with rants and other real life happenings.

It has been a bit much for me to take in.  I reach saturation and then I just have to shut it out.  One thought has dominated the day for me in this midst of this onslaught of expressions via words, pictures and videos.

What am I really responsible for?

I fall back on one of the wisest men I have every read:  Wendell Berry.

Berry in discussing the Civil Rights movement,  the Peace movement and the Environmental movement says this:

As causes they have been undertaken too much in ignorance; they have been too much simplified; they have been powered too much by impatience and guilt of conscience and short-term term enthusiasm, and too little by an authentic social vision and long-term conviction and deliberation. For most people those causes have remained almost entirely abstract; there has been too little personal involvement, and too much involvement in organizations that were insisting that other organizations should do what was right.*

He goes on in this essay to express that the public issues that we deal with in society must first be personal issues.  If they become public issues only, they lack the ability to effect long term change.

I keep coming back to this basic thought.  What issues in my life need to be dealt with?   I am responsible for that.  I must give an account for that.  What issues have I made public issues -i.e. shifted blame – and to avoid covering up my own stuff?

Here is reality.  There is an idol that is loose and alive in our culture.  It is idol of being obsessed with something that you do not have control of.  We worship this idol.  We bow down and lament the brokenness around us.  This idol worship allows us to remain untouched and unscathed by self examination.  All of our energy is spent naming other people’s issues.

Let me get personal for a second.  I have seen myself finding a bit of pleasure in my anger.  Yes, I said pleasure in my anger.   I have been angry at my brothers and sisters who claim Christ and have spewed hatred and even some bad theology at times.  I have found pleasure in judging them and feeling like I am better.

Do you see the idol?  The idol of throwing condemnation at another and feeling justified in it?   Do you see how quickly I could make this a public issue – out there – and not a private issue – in here (in my heart and life)?

What am I really responsible for?

I am responsible for my actions.  I am responsible for my love and lack of love.  I am responsible  for my obedience to God.  I am responsible for my family.  I am responsible for leading faithfully where I have been entrusted with leadership.  I am responsible for making those public issues first private issues.  I am responsible for not worshipping the idol of blaming others and shirking my own responsibility.

A famous Bible character once found himself in a dark, cold and wet spot.  Jonah was swallowed by a large creature of the sea as it broke the surface to devour him.  In the belly of the fish, it got personal.

When he came to his senses, Jonah while praying said:

Those that cling to worthless idols 

forfeit that grace that could be theirs.** 

I am going to continue to fight to claim the grace that is offered to me.

What are you clinging to?

What are you fighting for?

Are you forfeiting the grace that could be yours?


*Wendell Berry. The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry (p. 81). Kindle Edition.

** Jonah 2:8

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