Why don’t we see things the same way? What is wrong with us. The real question is: why don’t you see things my way? I know that I see the world in all of it’s reality and I know what is right and wrong. Why do you insist on doing things the wrong way? What is wrong with you. I know that the earth is flat; I know that the Sun and the entire universe revolves around the earth. I know that we we were all created, just as we look today, around 6,000 years ago. I know that only Catholics are going to heaven and all others are going straight to hell. I know that races were God’s creation and are not meant to be mixed and that the white race is superior to all others. I know that people deliberately choose to become gay. I know that Hurricanes and Tornadoes are God’s punishment for the sin of homosexuality. I also know that Autism and Down syndrome individuals are born that way because of the sins of their parents. I know that women are supposed to be submissive to men and that physical abuse is a just punishment when they disobey their husbands. I know that all Muslims are terrorists and hate christians and jews. How do I know all these things? Because the Bible tells me so, and the literal reading of the Bible is without error.
It is indeed amazing, as we look back over history, how we have survived. No two of us see the world in exactly the same way. We don’t see it quite the same way that our ancestors did hundreds of years ago, or even one generation ago. Every family and and every community sees the world sometimes slightly, other times radically different that others. We are a radically diverse crowd. Somehow, every planet and every star should be exactly alike and if they are not, what went wrong? Our human chromosomes, containing genetic structures, are fallible and filled with weak spots. Life is not consistent and we get angry at this fact.
In our homes, we fight with each other over different visions or observations. At times, these fights are mild but at other times, violence and abuse result from the diversity of life that we each bring to the table. We plant flower beds and hedge rows, with flowers and colors that all mimic each other. We fail to see the beauty in the wildness of flowers growing in abundance in the wild – we want to tame everything and make it the same. We want to be in control and to create the world that is uniform and according to my image. We even want to create god in our own image and insist that our version of god is the only correct version, and are angry when everything does not go according to our plan.
Sadly, in all of this, sometimes little battles and wars turn into huge battles and wars. The victors are proud and vindicated – they are confident that they were on the side of virtue and righteousness and the enemy were pawns of the devil. We were right and they were wrong – period! Both/and is not part and parcel of the human vocabulary; all is see in the world of either/or. We have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on our side and all others are just plain wrong – the devil incarnate.
It is most difficult to admit that just maybe, we don’t know everything about anything, let alone about others. We have a most difficult time admitting that just maybe we might be blind and/or deaf. We don’t know how to really see or to hear. It seems to me at least that prayer can be defined as a conversation, and all conversations require listening – paying attention to the other voice with a goal of better understanding. So often, prayer becomes reciting as many memorized words as fast as we can without any comprehension. We go to church, say our prayers and leave the same as we were when we came. Marriage so often comes apart because of a total lack of listening and struggling to understand. We also fail to listen to ourselves – to what we are saying or doing and why? We don’t know how to stand in awe of creation both around us and within us. We so often bring death with us and fail to understand what we are doing. Jesus calls us to observe life in all of it’s wonder and beauty and to proclaim that life. Life is constantly transforming the world and the cosmos and we fail to say yes because we are too busy arguing.
I wonder what people, generations from now, will when looking back on us, ask themselves how we could be so blind and obtuse. We accept death by violence and poverty so easily – as if that is the way that it is supposed to be. Guns, bombs, and weapons of all sorts are grasped as a source of security. In this, we miss the message of the Gospel – of the scriptures. We get all wrapped up in self so easily and then hang on at all costs. The message of Jesus, on the other hand, was to let go of self and understand that we are connected; one to the other and all to the Cosmos. We are part and parcel of the same ongoing creation. What a fascinating idea. To let go in order to experience the resurrection to new life!