Someone asked me the other day why I do not write articles or keep a blog of my thoughts, particularly as I understand current events within a religious context. I hesitate to write anything because in today’s world, every written thought is bound to create a negative response. We live in such polarized times that any opinion will be second-guessed, scrutinized, investigated, and cross-checked for accuracy. While critical thinking is an admirable trait to possess, in its corrupt form, it can lead to a state of doubt and cynicism. When a person becomes overly cynical, there is a tendency to become irritable and angry because nothing can be trusted. Once trusted conventional sources (such as churches, schools of higher learning, government, physicians, or the local paper) all of a sudden become suspect in their expertise. It is genuinely sad to encounter the eternal pessimist who doesn’t believe anyone or anything. To further perpetrate this state of mind, there are publications that profit on the backs of those who hold such beliefs.
As with many of you, I too, hold thoughts on current news events. In most cases, I refrain from commenting simply because I do not have enough information to formulate an opinion. One lesson that I learned in the military is that we should avoid commenting about things that we know nothing about. “Stay in your lane” was a phrase that I repeatedly recall hearing while in service. Many people, however, are opposite in that they insist that they know more than they actually know about a particular subject matter. I would advocate that if we want to know something, let us know something about God.
From a religious perspective, there are some matters that are clearly “black and white” for me. For example, I think that God wants all creation to live in peace and harmony with one another. Every time someone is killed by any act of violence for whatever reason, God weeps. Similarly, I think that God wants all creation to enjoy the fruits of the good earth, meaning that all people should be entitled to food, water, and shelter. Every time someone goes without adequate shelter or is hungry, God weeps.
My friends, this is the season of belief, not doubt. It is the season to believe that all people are deserving of God’s grace and peace. It is a season to set aside skepticism and simply embrace the goodness of all creation. It is the season to set aside the passions associated with our differences and instead search for common ground that would cause us to embrace our differences. It is the season to call out what is clearly wrong in order to lift what is clearly right. It is the season to be truly grateful for our blessings, instead of searching for ways to be critical of everything and everyone. Tis the season to be merry... or it should be.