GRACE LAND

Everyone’s writing about resolutions, or not resolutions, for this new year of 2013.  It doesn’t feel like a particularly new, exciting, or optimistic year to me considering the headlines in the media focused on political discord, wars, storms, and violence against children.  It would seem as if nothing else important was going on in the world if I only followed the media, but as suggested in my previous post, I’ve been making a concerted effort not to be so taken in by forces “outside” that seem to want to set my agenda.

It can seem daunting lately, but there are other things going on in the world that are wonderful otherwise we’d hardly survive, and more of our attention on them might help heal some of that ugliness.  It isn’t that we shouldn’t hear about all the problems, but that we need at least as much focus on the light.  Einstein apparently said we can’t solve problems on the level where they occur, and I take that to mean not wallowing in the horrific, like poking around in a wound, but by rising to a higher level, and one way to start is sharing discourse on brighter things.

As I’m writing this, I’m watching the new PBS special “Under African Skies” about Paul Simon’s making of the megahit “Graceland”:  http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/paul-simon%E2%80%99s-graceland-journey/1479/.

 http://www.paulsimon.com/us/graceland25/home.

I’d forgotten about that great music, but the story sort of makes my point, the importance of  staying focused above the muck, even though Simon’s objective had little to do with changing anything, he just wanted to make good music.  But that’s sort of my point.  He just wanted to make good music.  What do we usually want to do, make something wonderful, or become successful, get rich, make the body beautiful?  I got goose bumps watching the process, watching people grounded mostly in the love of their art quickly get past vast cultural differences just to play together.  I highly recommend watching it if you haven’t already.  Paul the innocent went to South Africa to “connect” with a kind of music new to him and ignored advice to clear it with the prevailing power structure, right in the midst of apartheid!   While he enraged some, the resulting international phenomena has done wonders to healing our sense of difference.  The irony was they didn’t make “political” music, tell the story of apartheid, they made fun, silly music that ultimately spoke to people all over the world, showing the world there was much more to Africans than they’d been led to believe by the media!

So, my desire for this blog is to stimulate “conversation” about things the media along with most of us won’t talk about, ideals and ideas to govern our living and maybe heal our ignorance and dissonant relationships, lead us to more grace.  Things like paying attention to each other, finding common ground, patience, listening, talking, making more joy, beauty, and art.  Resolutions less about our stuff, our bodies, or our dreams to make money, more about examining our human, personal “footprint” on each other, rather than only our carbon footprint on the planet.  I suspect the more we attend to our impact on each other the more we will reduce our carbon footprint.  But, you’ll have to join the discussion to see how.

In coming months I will use some favorite passages from Scripture as a jumping off place to launch this discussion.   There’re verses that suggest we focus more attention on things like the “fruit of the Spirit,” love, joy, peace, patience, and temperance.  Or things that are true, praiseworthy, just, lovely and virtuous.  How many of us for example think our lack of patience, our ability to be still and listen could even be significant?  Let’s find out.

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