The other day I was on the bus from Helsinki heading home from classes and I was thinking about a bunch of stuff – things in the news, church stuff, issues and concerns. I was remembering some of the things I had seen throughout the day – beggars looking for money, a man leaving a can on top of a garbage tin instead of throwing it in, people from various charities approaching others for donations, seeing people spending their time and money in the numerous slot machine places throughout the city, and reflecting on so many non-expressive faces that I pass by every day.
I started to think about how churches, political parties, and other organizations are often making public announcements about what they are for and what they are against. Usually the focus is on what these organizations and people are against.
What I’ve noticed is that we are against stuff, people, and practices when we are unsure of ourselves and have to define ourselves by what we are not. We are against stuff when we are not confident in who we are. We are against stuff when we have to prove that our way is right, when we have to convince people, even though we ourselves are not convinced. Any question or uncertainty about ourselves and our beliefs will cause us to have to question our identity and what we tie our identity to. In fact, it exposes the lie that we are our beliefs, rather than something more.
When we talk about what we support, we are usually clear, we are usually confident, we are usually comfortable with the unknown and risk. We are outward focused. When we are focused on supporting and talking about what we support, we are also clear on how to live out that support – how to live. We are not interested in imposing this on others, but rather, living it out in joy. If others come along for the ride, then great, they are invited to come along, but are not forced. Being against is forcing people to believe and do things against their belief.
Being against usually comes from a foundation of fear – fear of loss. Being in support of means starting of a foundation of nothing to lose typically
Is everything this simple – nope. This is merely my observation over the last few days and it is an universal truth either. It’s merely me noticing how people and organizations respond to issues and events over the last few days.