If we have a pie-in-the-sky, everything is beautiful attitude, we are going to be trapped by the darkness because we don’t see clearly enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. Conversely, if we can only see the darkness and forget the more foundational Light, we will be destroyed by our own negativity and fanaticism, or we will naively think we are completely apart and above the darkness. Instead, we must wait and work with hope inside of the darkness, even our own— while never doubting the light that God always is, and that we are too.- Richard Rohr.
Wow. I have adopted Everything is Beautiful as a motto. I had to. I knew that eight years ago, because with my negative attitude I was seeing too much blackness, in myself and in the world, seeing things that might be good as bad or threatening. I had to say Everything is beautiful as an antidote to that. And I was not seeing the real threats or darkness if everything appeared dark to me.
I did not understand the well known quotes:
I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. And in that also I saw the infinite love of God;
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it (comprehended it not).
I was not ready to balance light and dark. How could I see light in the darkness, as in the yin/yang symbol which I learn is called a Taijitu? Yet today this thought is strong in me: the anti-trans campaigners are foolish as well as oppressive; what they have been taught to hate is no threat, what they have been taught to demand is no benefit; and yet I love their standing on dignity. No, they will not simply accept us. They will stand up for their (imagined) interests, and for their Sisters.
I love the solidarity. I love the self-assertion, even if they are more unhinged and obsessive than anti-vaxxers.
Probably it is better not to see things as chaff, too easily. If in doubt, it’s wheat until proven otherwise. And, when proven otherwise, recognise that. Rohr says hard and fast laws are not good at distinguishing good from bad: for an example of that, take the moral rule that “homosexuality is sinful”. Possibly moral principles might. Here’s one.
Whatever gets in the way of the I-Thou encounter is Wrongful.
Things do, unfortunately. This article in the Guardian portrays Mr Corbyn’s politics as close to mine- valuing all human beings equally, including foreigners- and opposed to older voters’ transactional, us and them politics. Voters were fixated on the inevitability of scarcity, and the need to guard against naive hope. They wanted politicians loyal to them.
What gets in the way of an I-thou encounter? Fear, a sense of painful vulnerability, not dignity, a sense of one’s own worth. In the encounter there is vulnerability which has to be accepted joyously, a small price for the blessing of seeing and being seen, having a sense of all conditions of people so one can speak to all conditions.
If my dignity gets in the way of encounter I should change myself rather than shout at the world. But it is not my dignity, but unearned assertion. I want the true dignity of a human being, unique and valuable, and one of 7.8bn, not the dignity of a white, or middle class, person, from my place in a formal structure in society. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Without the formal structure there is vulnerability, but without that vulnerability there can be no encounter.