Another summer in Austin, Texas. What is new under the sun this year is not especially significant. It is part of the same old story, and new only as a variation on the same theme. The search is, of course, for a certain kind of truth that may or may not be the Truth, as some would have it. It is a search for more than happiness, as happiness by itself is inadequate to sustain me.
What is needed is a figure who is strong and brave enough to get past the tit-for-tat, purely selfish economic mode that the bulk of humanity lapses into in order to get through the day. Anyone, even a toddler, can return a perceived slight with some form of lashing out, some reactive type of violence. It takes an exceptionally big person to wake up in the morning and state unequivocally that they are going to take each punch squarely on the nose and return that punch with a smile and prayer of love.
It will require a superhuman to see every single human being as equally valuable, as possessing great worth and dignity, as being 100% human. Someone who laments when the littlest and weakest and most despised and forgotten of humanity goes missing. Someone who takes that soul up into their arms and gives comfort.
What is needed is a lot of comfort. More discourse of anger, hatred, violence, and smug satisfaction when the Other loses–if you are making more of that, then you are taking the easy path.
Not everyone who claims to be a Christian exemplifies Christ. Not everyone who claims to be a non-Christian has missed the mark in exemplifying Christ. Christ is, at the end of the day, a fully-realized human being at their most perfect. You will not find Christ here on earth, because no human being can exult themselves or perform many great tasks to reach the stage of Christhood of their own accord.
Christ loves all human beings equally, and says, come and see what my way is about. Christ does not say, you are more worthy than you because of your sociocultural status, and you must follow me and force others to follow me. The history of the religion that claims the name of Christ shows an inordinate number of followers who did not remotely exemplify Christ. The ones who did mostly went unrecorded in history. But, human history, and God’s accounting of human endeavor are radically different. The names and faces you call great may or may not be the same ones that God does.
I can’t stress enough how much more strength it takes not to lash out and fight back reactively, passive aggressively and instinctively. It takes infinitely more strength to be proactive in your pacifitivity then it does to to be merely passive and secretly full of violence and hatred when you are persecuted.
Being a proactive pacifist requires you to face the punches, attacks and onslaughts squarely and head-on with love, and to ultimately be offensive in your bringing of love to your enemies. You don’t wait to return love for evil. You find those who are likely to bring evil into your house and express love for them.
If you haven’t learned to be proactive in any sort of fashion, which is to say, if you are still reacting to the punches life throws at you, then you shouldn’t try to be like Christ. Be like an ordinary person of your time and place first. Be on the offense instead of always on the defense. Be the one to initiate a greeting or contact with a stranger or neighbor.
The moments when the brain is in such a state are actually few and far between.
It would even seem that as I get older, it becomes even harder to maintain a proactive approach to life. Just get up and react and try not to get into too much conflict or debt. Try to get out of life with only a few people holding grudges against you. Better to have no one in your life then have twenty friends and twenty-one enemies.