Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Civilization is a progress from an indefinite, incoherent
homogeneity toward a definite, coherent heterogeneity.
Herbert Spencer, English philosopher; he was born on
this date, 1820, in Derby, England
In other words: “Civilization” is a progress from tribalism to not-tribalism. Can you see why the plans for Afghanistan (arrogantly undertaken) are doomed? This also presently, I think, includes America, the European Union, and umpteen other places ….. in fact, let’s face it, the World. We may get there at some point, but this ain’t it. If Jesus were to weep a second time, this might be it. He, I think, thought that we might be there by now. (Just kidding; being Jesus, He knew better. Which is why He promised to be with us until the end of the ages.)
It seems to me that all the great religions long for or hope for a “coherent heterogeneity”. “May they all be One”, Jesus prays. And Paul, bless his heart, had the spiritual chutzpah to blurt out that “in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, slave nor free”.
You know what comes to mind for me? Brazil. I went there many times when a Brazilian diocese was our Companion Diocese and I was privileged to be the Chair of our Committee. What struck me was the visible “homogeneity”. Oh sure; there were still lots of “white European” types on their high horse. But the population was blending. And I think now they are far ahead of us in the United States when it comes to putting aside a divisive homogeneity.
Christianity, as a religion representing God and God’s “Universal Kingdom” of Peace and Justice, has a real and beautiful challenge from God ahead of us. We are still “tribal”. We still think in terms of “we are right, they are wrong”, or, “We have Truth, they don’t”. If we continue to think that way, we will never achieve “civilization” but, worse, we will never be faithful to God and to God’s Purpose.
What is needed is a Band of Indiscriminate Lovers.