There is a mantra, more of a clich? really, that says that we must have peace in order to have prosperity. At any level, one is closely linked to the other. There is a silent argument anytime someone disagrees. Dissent cannot be allowed! Above all, we must act and feel like we are getting along. If not, we risk everything – prosperity, peace, and above all happiness.
Even as I look with admiration and respect at how Singapore has pulled itself up, I wonder about the price that was and is being paid. Dissent is rarely tolerated. Public expressions of disagreement are rarely allowed and almost never reported on. The community appears to have embraced the mantra with as if its life depending on it. Newspapers make you feel good. Everything is orderly. Yet, something is missing!
Perhaps I have misread history. Did everyone always agree in order to prosper? Candidly, if I am honest about what some stories tell us, the answer is a blunt no. When I see that “things calmed down after that and the church had smooth sailing for a while. All over the country-Judea, Samaria, Galilee-the church grew. They were permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God. The Holy Spirit was with them, strengthening them. They prospered wonderfully.” (Acts 9.31) I want to believe that the Evil that preceded this time had been exposed and held accountable. Yet, the internal conflict of this story was never addressed, at least in this author's retelling.
I sat at dinner with diverse friends last night. We shared little except for the love of living, friendship, and the thrill of riding a bike. Much was new for me, yet I felt right at home. I find myself richer for the experience.
I wake with a fresh perspective. Peace is a friend that can grow in our differences. Prosperity is than just money. God is ready to work with flawed kids. Everything can come from an accepting community that has an appreciation for living life to the full. The invitation is open.
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