Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Shooting the moon

"We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assurdly, we shall all hang separately" Benjamin Franklin.

Our celebrations today are rooted in a the grand experiment of democracy that took root these two plus centuries ago. It was nothing less than a full blown rebellion against existing power structures, nothing less than treason. No matter whether the ideology underpinning the revolution was just or unjust; it was rebellion, cessation, and as such would, of course be challenged.

Though there is much for which we're grateful here in America, and many ideals at which we marvel, perhaps the most amazing attitude of our founding fathers was their commitment to shoot the moon, going for broke in pursuit of the profound vision that undergirded their cause. Treason, you see, can't be taken by baby steps; it's an all or nothing proposition.

That "shooting the moon" willingness to risk everything in pursuit only works when, running parallel to that spirit is a commitment to doing whatever needs to be done in order to reach the goal. This "whatever it takes" spirit has, more than once, seen America through challenging days: civil war, a great depression, a late entry into the 2nd world war that required all of our nation's collective ingenuity and diligence, and more. We demonstrated that same attitude when, only a few years after the first manned space launch, we declared that we would put a man on the moon in less than 10 years. And we did.

Today we'll gather with friends, eat big, and enjoy blowing things up. We'll celebrate because, woven into the fabric of our national origin, is a willingness to risk, and a commitment to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Let's celebrate those qualities in a big way, thanking God for the privileges that have accrued because of how they've been applied to the high ideals of democracy. As well, let's commit ourselves to the responsibilities that come with privilege: commit to generosity, justice for all, being a blessing.

We need, though, to do more than celebrate. We need to recover that same spirit. "Yes we can" our president says. I hope so. In the midst of crises too numerous to mention, it seems that the paradigm of our leaders has less to do with "Yes we can change the world" than, "Yes we can get re-elected, by giving money away, and refusing to call for the collective sacrifices needed to address the enormous challenges of our day." Thus it is that, with each passing day, massages made to energy and health legislation are shape shifting them towards irrelevance.

Boldness is our heritage. So is sacrifice. All the changes that are needed in order to address the pressing needs require these elements of our national DNA. And more than any legislation, it's this DNA that is in need of recovery as we celebrate today


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