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The World is Flat . . . and Shaky

Specifically (though not specifically enough to count as a complete answer):

  1. Global and national policy should be guided more by principle than expedience—and we will need to demand it of ourselves and others.
  2. We will need to remember John Donne's words, "no man is an island," crafting solutions to the economic and social challenges that we face that are marked by fresh approaches, freed of old assumptions and the desire to isolate ourselves.
  3. We will need to remember that our certainties can no longer be enforced at the expense of others. Instead, the solutions we craft will need to be accountable problem solving.
  4. Partisan bickering, special interests, and the demonizing language that it depends upon will need to go. A solution that does not take the big picture into account is no solution at all.
  5. We can no longer assume that someone else will fix or pay for the world in which we live. The "we" in "we" is every one of "us."

So, what do we do by way of spiritual practice? The answer will sound old-fashioned and our tendency to think of it that way is, perhaps, why we fail to remain spiritually grounded in shaky times: fast and pray.

  1. Fast, because it creates a space in which to listen to God. We set aside something basic, not to make ourselves miserable, but to say in effect, "Nothing matters more now than to listen to what God has to say."
  2. And pray, because prayer is the only space in which we can pour out our fears, own our frailty, and open ourselves to that voice which speaks to us from beyond the narrow confines of our own lives.

Both spiritual practices are the only ones I know that open us to a vision of life that transcends our narrowly held need for certainty and looks to God instead. Those have always been the practices that God insists on when the world has looked shaky; and the more complicated things get, the more important it is to remember the most elemental practices of the faith.

For Christians in particular, the view from the plateau will no longer work. In a world that is flat and shaky it is clear that nothing less than God's view of the world is enough. That's always been the case, but now it is inescapable.

2/28/2011 5:00:00 AM