Urgent Questions For These Urgent Times

Can you feel it?

Can you name it?

In one of the most divisive seasons in recent history, are we perhaps more united than we think?

We’re not united ideologically, politically, or in terms of our religious beliefs, but we never have been. Our country was founded upon the idea that we must extend freedom to one another to disagree on those very matters. Our country was founded upon the idea that freedom is not something you hoard, but something you sacrifice so that others might also have it.

And yet, we seem to have turned that idea in on itself, and we are clamoring for our own freedom, stepping over anybody else who challenges it.

The American dream has been hijacked by scarcity, and we are starving.

Lurking just underneath the vitriol and violence of this election cycle is a universal and deep hunger for a sense of real belonging and freedom to be all that we actually are.

Because we’re withholding freedom from one another, we’re profoundly lonely and we finally feel it on a societal level.

The American dream has been hijacked by scarcity, and we are starving.

The empty and individualistic promise that you can be anything you want to be has been exposed as true only for a few of us. The rest of us are finding our voice, and it’s coming out awkward, sometimes violent, like a teenager with an underdeveloped ability to say what’s really going on inside. Like all revolutions, those in power are protective of what they’ll lose, and critical of the teenager who can’t say clearly what she needs. They’re punitive because she’s moody and violent. They’re dismissive because they don’t understand her. But she’s not going away.

I’d like to translate for her. She cares deeply about us and about the future of us, in a way that is breathtaking if you can see it and hear it.

She’s hungry for her serious questions to be taken seriously.

She’s hungry to see wise elders making wise choices.

She’s hungry to see broken things be made whole.

She’s hungry for honesty about life’s complexities.find-your-voice

She’s hungry for an expansive understanding of herself and the Divine.

She’s hungry for more and better questions before quick and easy answers.

She’s hungry to grow into herself.

None of these things can happen without a table around which she can sit and be nourished, around which she can listen and be listened to. She is desperate right now for some wise people who might have the patience to watch her grow up. She needs space and time and a few elders who might extend her the freedom to believe passionately and even differently.

She will lead us into the future, whether we help her grow up or whether we kick her out of the house.

Will we rise up to share space with her?

Will we create safe places of belonging without demanding agreement with your ideals?

Will we extend freedom to her even at the expense of our own?

These are urgent questions for an urgent time.

Who will allow space to talk about them?


Steve Wiens is the pastor of Genesis Covenant Church in Maple Grove, MN. He is the author of Beginnings: The First Seven Days of the Rest of Your Life. Listen to his podcast, This Good Word, as he reclaims what is holy in our humanity.

steve-wiens

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