I recently attended an all day retreat with my coworkers. I heard a great perspective on our culture that had never occurred to me. Tom Booth made an analogy of our culture being like the weather. He was quoting Mark Twain,
"Everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it."
I was struck by this comment like lightning. ;) Today much energy is spent on trying to change the weather. Everyone is trying to control our culture by using money, influence, politics, shaming, name calling, unfriending and a whole host of other activities. Forgotten in all of this is the people who are under the weather. I live in the Phoenix area. For about 5 months of the year it is like living near the gates of hell. It is hot. As I type this, the high for today is 99 degrees. I can see Satan's shoes from here!
I grew up on Montana and about 5 months of the year it is cold. And grey. And grey. People need help with their sidewalks, getting snow shoveled, cars pushed out of snowbanks. Sometimes they need a warm place to be for a bit in order to do what they are on their way to do.
Everyone complains but you can't change it. We can move if we don't like it, but the reality is we all adapt and tolerate. Because I am a Christian, I wrestle deeply with what this might mean for how I may live. In light of the weather here in Arizona, I believe my call is to provide shade and provide water. I am to be a place of rest for those who are suffering from what is happening in the sky's above and on the ground. There are physical things we can do for those suffering from our cultural climate but also things we can do spiritually and emotionally. We can metaphorically shovel walks and give water. My point is not to simply give up on our culture. Far from it, I believe our acts should demonstrate an alternative lifestyle to the culture norms. This in turn can and should speak volumes to our culture shaping influences including those we put in office. However, the bulk of our time can't be spent figuring out ways to blot out the sun. It needs to be spent giving water to the thirsty.
A high school near me has suffered another suicide. People are worried, scared, addicted, lonely, shame-filled, financially strapped, living moment to moment in an ever increasingly polarized society that relies on one-liners on social media to deal with critical issues. This is helpful to no one. Especially those who are 'under the weather.'
What can we do? Live in peace. Choose to be joyful. Feed someone you don't know. Listen to someone without giving advice. Spend time with someone you would normally not have time for. Remind people there is beauty in the world beyond the Kardashians. Create something for someone. Write a note to someone using your own hand a pen or pencil! Find ways to be kind to someone who you find hard to be kind to. Invite someone to join you under the umbrella you are using.
We are all under the weather. They way out isn't to complain about it or try to stop the snow. It is to join one another IN it and allow beauty and goodness to have a say.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.