Friday, June 10, 2016
Lord, Grant Us All the Serenity and Courage that We Need!
I find both major candidates wanting. More alarming is the amount of angry venom that has spilled over into physical violence, but also verbally violent and rude comment, especially in the social media. The electronic media and the press by and large seem content to not only fan the flames, but to pour gasoline on them.
Where are we to go with this? I suggest a national reflection on the well known Serenity prayer. A shortened version of this prayer has become popular through AA and the other 12 step programs and has served people well in their goal of achieving sobriety. The entire prayer, which I have included in the image on the upper left, was composed a number of years ago by Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. If you are not Christian and just want to pray to God or a Higher Power, be free to do so. The point is that like the alcoholic, addict or co-dependent our culture, our political debate has become dysfunctional and unmanageable.
The simple message of this prayer is to focus on the things I can change and pray to courageously undertake that change. The real challenge is to accept the things I cannot change. That doesn't mean that we have to like the things we cannot change. The challenge for my readers would be to prayerfully reflect on both of these questions not only in terms of the presidential election, but in terms of all the issues that are affecting our nation and our culture--from politics to education and much more.
One way to avoid this challenge is to play the blame game. While I'm sure that blame can be cast all over the lot, when we concentrate on blame we tend not to find solutions. Also being rigidly liberal or conservative deepens polarization.
In the end this prayer is a prayer for Wisdom, the most needed virtue in leading us to where we need to go.