forgiveness • peacemaking • reconciliation
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How Can Anything Change?

March 23, 2018 by

Over the phone my daughter’s voice sounds a bit upset. “Every time the subject arises we’re told over and over, ‘don’t get political.’ Why? Those students are mad, and have a right to be, and we’re told ‘don’t be political.’ How can any change come?”

The caution from older adults – parents, teachers – arises from two sources. The first is a practical self-preservation, a warning not to get lost in the quicksand of politics. Politics can seem like the right battleground for truth and dignity and human rights, but that’s an illusion.

Image of young people in Parkland Florida

I wish passionately for some sort of immediate, reasonable gun control, for the sake of my nation and my kids. But don’t hold your breath. The NRA may have a powerfully controlling, dangerous grip on domestic policy, yet it’s not that different from other behemoths of capitalism that force their way into favorable policies: automakers, chemical companies, Wall Street banks, and the military-industrial complex. Do we have eyes to see and ears to hear when the true nature of our “civilization” is revealed?

When there is money to be made, no red-blooded American corporation will allow too much meaningful control over their particular industry. And thus, we are left with the horror that even after tragedy no solutions move forward.

I salute the efforts of the youth of this nation to push for meaningful change. The school walkouts on March 14, and the March for Our Lives on March 24, are to be applauded. Young people, do not give up! But go further; much further. You may achieve tiny concessions from the government, but you are still putting too much faith in the status quo, in the idea that more informed or more inspired political action can change things.

There is no future in any political solution. But there is another way, and if in crisis we seek it, we will find it.

It won’t, which leads to the second source of the caution my eleventh-grade daughter senses: there is no future in any political solution.

But there is another way, and if in crisis we seek it, we will find it. Think on Jesus’ words, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matt. 6:24). In this country, too many of us have made our choice to be devoted to money, and therefore, God is despised. And if God is despised, people are spurned and creation is destroyed.

So in this week before Palm Sunday, let’s look far beyond politics, to the end of Jesus’ life on earth. The first result of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascent into heaven was the coming of the Holy Spirit. As promised, this spirit immediately led people into this action: “No one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common” (Acts 4:32).

This supra-political way is complete in every aspect of life on earth and beyond. The time of Easter and of Pentecost can still bring the same transformation and bear the same fruit in our lives.

Anyone can find it, but be ready, for it is a narrow gate, a stony path, and it will cost you everything. But we must first change in the heart, as the first church was “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). We can then change laws – if we still need to – after that.

Danny Meier and his wife, Tessa, live at New Meadow Run, a Bruderhof in southwestern Pennsylvania. Comments

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  • You come around to it at the end; that is, although called from the world the christain os sent into the world.

    Edward Hearn