Hope Floats!

I ration my news exposure; most news is as much toxic hypnotism as information. And after catching one too many of these litanies of undiluted demoralization recently, I began crafting an OP ED piece suggesting a simple change to the conventional news delivery system, which had the potential to change the course of democracy.

That piece was still in the works when Harvey hit Houston.

Hmmm, sounds like a Seuss book if ever there wooz one.

Then I noticed something heartening. The media seemed to be making some new choices. I caught a segment on a friend’s T.V., in which they chose to interview a portly Caucasian woman recently rescued from her home (with her little dog). She reported that she’d been offered shelter by a family; and as she concluded her statements, the camera zoomed out to reveal a man of Latin American or other brown heritage, holding an umbrella over her. This was the gentleman who had invited her to his home, where she would join rescued members of his own family and of another family, whom he had yet to meet but had offered shelter.

The next day I heard a segment on the radio about a mosque that was offering shelter and supplies to those in need of them. People who had never set foot in a mosque were being served, regardless of race, color, creed or economic status. Members of that community had been working tirelessly, sleeplessly, to tend to the needs of their displaced “neighbors.”

Not only was I touched by these stories, but I could see the statement made with each story, one to counter the climate of Trump.

This morning, Richard Rohr’s daily meditation happened to discuss the story of Noah! Coincidence? I wonder. Since Rohr’s meditation cover a theme each week, and the parsed segments may in fact be extractions from one of his books, I’m not sure if this was planned; but the relevance could be lost on no one. And it furthers the point I’m making here, and that Higher Nature seems to be making at large this week.

I’m simply going to paste in a few paragraphs from today’s Rohr excerpt:

The story of Noah and the flood is filled with insight. … God tells Noah to bring into the ark all the opposites: the wild and the domestic, the crawling and the flying, the clean and the unclean, the male and the female of each animal (Genesis 7:2-15).

Then God does a most amazing thing. God locks them together inside the ark (Genesis 7:16). Check it out.

Most people never note that God actually closed them in! God puts all the natural animosities, all the opposites together, and holds them in one place. I used to think it was about balancing all the opposites within me, but slowly I have learned that it is actually “holding” things in their seemingly unreconciled state that widens and deepens the soul. We must allow things to be only partly resolved, without perfect closure or explanation. Christians have not been taught how to live in hope. The ego always wants to settle the dust quickly and have answers right now. But Paul rightly says, “In hope we are saved, yet hope is not hope if its object is seen” (Romans 8:24). The virtue of hope widens and deepens our foundation.

Noah’s ark is not meant to be a cute children’s story; it is a mature metaphor for the People of God on the waves of time, carrying the contradictions, the opposites, the tensions, and the paradoxes of humanity—preserving and protecting diversity inside of a safe unity created by God. (Thinking of it merely as punishing “bad” people only appeals to our lowest instincts and puts us back into meritocracy.) It is no accident that animals are deemed worth saving and that the covenant YHWH proclaims after the flood is “with every living creature,” not just humans as we presume. (Read Genesis 9:10, 13, 15, where it is said three times!) This is no small point, although it has been largely ignored.

I may still hammer out the OP ED piece, but my observations this week give me hope that the same forces moving me are moving others in the direction humanity must take.

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2 thoughts on “Hope Floats!

  1. Thanks for this reflections. I had not thought of the Noah story that way. It gives it a whole different spin, and hope for us trying to work out our differences.

  2. Hey, I really enjoy reading your posts and wish I had the wherewithal to reply more! You’re brilliant. Today begins clean up for us. The storm did little damage to our little town an hour west of Houston, and Ryan worked counseling, donating supies from our house and church and acting as a night watchmen in the shelter set up in the school gym. He sent the kids and me to San Antonio where all the chaos was unnecessary. There is much to be done picking and repairing, but there are many who are unable to deal with damages because of other issues such as sickness and financial strains, etc. My oldest son, Cal, will be 10 Nov 5th; he’s being a huge help entertaining his sister’s so I can take care of other matters.

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