Have you ever been accused of being naive (“deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment”)? Have you ever been labeled a Pollyanna (“a person characterized by irrepressible optimism with a tendency to find good in everything”)? Have you ever been accused of being an idealist (a person who cherishes or pursues high or noble principles, purposes or goals”). I have. When subjects such as community, peace, love, and reconciliation are bandied about, I have often been labeled naive, a Pollyanna, an idealist (a visionary or impractical person; a person who represents things as they might or should be rather than as they are; a person who lives in an ivory tower).
I am well aware, however, that natural human goodness is not the whole truth about humanity. It doesn’t take 20/20 vision to see that self-centeredness has been and will always be present among us. I am not utopian. A thousand years from now, if there are still people on this earth, there will still be self-centeredness. This is the price of personhood. Physical things, like machines, computers, etc., are not free agents; they do not think; they do not make decisions. Persons, on the other hand, are free agents, they do think, and they do make decisions.
The seven deadly sins are still hanging around in us and with us, and they are just as deadly as they have ever been: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. G.K. Chesterton once noted that, “Certain theologians dispute original sin [various definitions are given for this term, but I don’t have the space to spell them out here], which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.”
|Antelope Canyon, Page AZ--2016|
My faith consists of a delicate combination of realism (yes, we are self-centered) and hope (yet, on occasion, we can and do rise above that self-centeredness and include others in our scheme of things). My faith is that there is “that of God” in every human person as well as “that of sin.” My task is to call out “that of God” in me and in all persons, knowing full well all that we are (realism) but also sensing who we can become (hope).