Hope in Wholeness

Photo by Tim Graves

When I get too focused on protesting or on politics, I become discouraged and cynical. I see evil behind every human frailty; I see conspiracies at every turn. I see a battle of good versus evil. Eventually, I become a miserable person. I feel betrayed, impotent, and angry. Hopelessness descends. Despondent, I give up.

Focusing on the One whose love envelopes me and connects me to each grassy blade, each sea anemone, and each human being, results in optimism. I find hope in wholeness. That wholeness — that for Christians emanates from the Table set by Jesus and manifest in love that overcomes death — is powered by the extravagant love of the Divine. When I focus and respond to that loving grace, I am compelled to act for justice, love with abandon, and strive to be my best self. 

Attuned to the divinity that coarses through you, me, and all of creation, I see see goodness despite human frailty. Filled with hope, I strive to do my part for the whole knowing that I am not alone. Goodness is within every annoying bureaucrat, murderer, and abusive parent. When I respond in love, love multiplies and ripples powered by the One. 

At its core this is the Good News, love always wins in the end. It is more powerful than death, conspiracies, or greedy politicians. When we respond from the divine love within us, justice will “roll down like waters, and righteousness an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5: 24 NRSV Read this passage in context.

This entry was posted in Christianity, Social Justice, spirituality and tagged , by Tim Graves. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tim Graves

Tim strives to share God’s extravagant love for all–no matter what & without strings. Seeking to follow the lure of the Spirit, Tim writes about what it means to be a follower of Jesus in an era where Christianity has come to be associated with hatred and political wedge issues. “Heinous things have been said & done (& still are) in the name of the One who breathed in the Divine,” notes Tim, “but Jesus shows us that God loves extravagantly.” Following the teachings and life of Jesus is about inclusion not exclusion. It is about compassion, grace, and admitting no one has all the answers. It is about responding lovingly to the best of our human ability. It is about people not institutions. It is about social justice. It is about caring for creation. It is about being who we were each created to be. Tim is a former early childhood educator, a runner, a hiker, a devoted husband, father of two adult children and their spouses, and a grandfather of two perfect babies. The former pastor of the Condon United Church of Christ, Tim recently began serving the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Albany, Oregon. He writes from home, from the coffee shop, and wherever the trail leads him.

One thought on “Hope in Wholeness

  1. Thanks Tim,

    I too have experienced the existential tightness and distressing mental obsession over divisive political matters. I think your reflection is very valuable here.

    I’ll share my pathway out of that particular experience of dukkha.

    Human beings are the mysterious, incarnate children of God, imprinted with the holy imago dei. All are valuable. All are beautiful. All are worthy of dignity and abundant life.

    The institutions human beings create are not human beings themselves. Some human communities are valuable, beautiful and help restore dignity and life to people, some are downright evil. Most probably fall short of even their own worthy aspirations.

    Harmful political vitriol is evident when we mistake the institutions we create (be it a corporation, political party, religious organization, government, ideology, etc) for actual human beings and -especially- vice versa.

    So, for example, when I mistake a one’s allegiance to Duke basketball for the essence of her humanity, then that part of me that mistakes my own allegiance to Kentucky basketball is likely to create conflict and division between us.

    The move to freedom for me (and here is the important move) is to awaken to the fact that these artificial identities that we have mistaken for ourselves and others as we look into the warped mirror of society and culture, do not arise from inherent defects in our character, but rather IMPOSED from the outside, from institutional powers, for the specific purpose of social control. This move allows me truly to see myself in my sisters and brothers, democrats, republicans, Muslims, fundamental Christians, Duke fans, as one who is also held captive by false allegiances. One of the lessons of Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 was that slaveholders must divide white slaves from black slaves and keep them resentful of one another so that they never again unite to challenge them. White “servants” and black slaves thus fail to see they have more in common with one another than with wealthy landowner. Please insert democrat, republican, urban poor, white working class, whatever in those roles and you will see the same principle applies.

    This awakening is important, because otherwise, we fall for the temptation to either hate these false identities, or to withdraw entirely from the struggle for our own liberation. The latter is the more tragic move, which I see all the time. It is a false “transcendence beyond politics.” This is the Empire’s wet dream: to be pacified so completely that we fail to defend the shared image of God in all of us.

    Thanks again,

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