I can still remember the school yard taunt. “We can do this the easy way or we can do it the hard way. It’s your choice.” I don’t recall there ever being much of a choice. It seems as if everyone on all sides always wants to get their way! I was as inflexible as my opposition. We shared far more in common than our differences. The only real question was simply who was going to be in charge. Once the taunt formed on one of our lips I cannot ever remember anything good following.
In big cities and small, in villages and town, I still find the need to be in charge. Even though we have changed the names, wrapped the descriptors up in metaphors and fancy adjectives, the conflicts tend to center on who is in charge. Few are willing to live in a community when it comes to the personal. Rarely does trust prevail over fear. Seldom will others take precedence over the self. Self help, indulgence, and satisfaction are the goals we hold onto. They are the value we defend. Our actions reflect the priority we naturally place on being in control.
I find myself trying to forget the warning, even though it is old, clear, and direct. “Like David, I'll [God will] set up camp against you. I'll set siege, build towers, bring in siege engines, build siege ramps. Driven into the ground, you'll speak, you'll mumble words from the dirt—your voice from the ground, like the muttering of a ghost. Your speech will whisper from the dust.” (Isaiah 29.3, 4) The God of Self and community cannot co-exist. One much choose. We can do it the easy way or the hard way.
I want both. I need the god of self while being part of a community. In my heart I know the two are not friends, never have been, never will be. I also know I will never find peace with this god. The answer in today’s dawn is the same as yesterday and tomorrow, community is everything.
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