Greetings WAC Community,
So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who trusts will never be dismayed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line.“
– Isaiah 28:16-17a
Yesterday, Saturday, I went to a workshop on how to transform what is to what needs to happen in order to break through what gets in the way to make things whole. During the opening portion, we learned about the need to be vulnerable and seeing it as a strength. The barrier to being vulnerable boiled down to one word: Fear. We are not vulnerable ironically because we are afraid of being perceived as weak. I am afraid that if I make myself vulnerable, someone will take advantage of me. Vulnerability to hurt is scary. But without vulnerability, you and I cannot expect change to happen.
By nature, I have been a cynic. I have described myself in the past as the “queen of sarcasm,” a manifestation of being a cynic. A friend gave me, “The Pessimist’s Cup” with a line marking halfway and the words, “This cup is now half empty.” I was on a board of a nonprofit for several years and I told a new board member who suggested a fundraising idea, “We tried that once and it didn’t work.” When I heard myself say that, I knew it was time for me to get off that board and allow new leadership to emerge, leadership not burdened with cynicism.
I hear from people who want to see justice in Wyoming, but say something like this about their churches, “If we talk about (fill in the blank with some current justice issue), we will lose members.” Is that something Jesus would have said? No, I don’t think so. Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” Jesus said, “Give away your possessions.” Jesus said, “Leave your family behind.” None of these were about keeping the status quo and avoiding conflict. Without conflict, nothing changes, which was another lesson from yesterday’s workshop.
The difference between the cynic and the one who has trust is this: the one who trusts has overcome fear enough to be vulnerable. Letting go of fear allows vulnerability. Vulnerability allows entering into the conflict which allows transformation. Vulnerability is the bridge from cynicism to trust. The trust allows us to become even more vulnerable, as Jesus was to his disciples and to those who killed him, which then leads to even greater transformation.
But it starts with letting go of fear. People who read my weekly messages sometimes will quote to me during a conversation a portion of my mantra, “Be bold.” I am pleased to hear that. In fact, I have a card I keep by my work area sent to me by a friend and a regular reader that says, “Be Bold” below a zebra with colorful sparkly stripes. But I do not often hear back the first two words of my mantra: “Fear not.”
I believe fear is what keeps people being cynics. I speak from my experience as a recovering cynic. It is easier to blame others for justice not happening. Trusting which requires being vulnerable feels too risky. Cynics want others to change, but unwilling to change ourselves. We want to keep doing the same thing and expecting different outcomes, which I have heard is the definition of insanity.
So cynics arise! Fear not. Trust in God, that foundation built with the rejected cornerstone. Love your enemies. If your enemies are the liberals in your community, love them. If your enemies are the conservatives in your community, love them. If you have possessions more important than your relationship to God, sell them and give them to the poor. If your family or friends take priority over your relationship God, then get your house in order.
Fear not. Be bold. Do justice.
Mark your calendars:
4th and Final Community Dialogue, Arapahoe School Administrative Building, Thursday, March 17, 6 – 8 pm
Wyoming PBS Live Broadcast on Refugees, Thursday, March 18, 7 pm
40th Anniversary Celebration, “Celebrating Diversity,” October 14-15, Casper