I was talking with a friend and she asked “couldn’t we just talk about the weather? Sometimes you are exhausting.”
I can be …….. a lot.
I’ve written about it before. Everything is something and that something is fascinating. I needs to be thought about and considered. It needs to be poked, prodded and examined in every which way.
And there are times when this is profoundly helpful. Times when this idiosyncratic part of me finds things that are interesting and in some exceptionally small circumstances even enlightening for people.
But my goodness can I make simple thing complicated.
We all do it from time to time don’t we?
The simple, obvious answer or choice is right there but we complicate it.
I wrote not long ago about how we create op-outs for our love. How we take something super clear like “love your enemies” and affirm it in our words but then slip these little opt outs on the end. These qualifiers.
“Of course you love your enemy, BUT if my family is in danger…”
“Of course we need to love everyone, BUT they need to be trying to change…”
And when a truly complicated issues arises? Far to often we refuse to even engage with it. To think about the implications and the way we are a part of it. Complicated issues involve other people in other parts of the world. We don’t need to get into it.
What are we doing?
We complicate the clear so we don’t have to act and we simplify the profoundly difficult to justify how we act.
The simple call to love your enemy is unbelievably difficult so we complicated it. We spend a lot of time trying to define exactly what is an enemy is or who our neighbour is. And until we get it sorted we feel fine loving no one. We don’t know who we’re supposed to love. We need to figure it out.
And the more we complicate it the longer we put off doing the things we know we are absolutely supposed to.
In almost the exact opposite way, we take the outrageously complicated and simplify it to reinforce the way we see things and the actions we are already taking, rather than do the hard work of changing our current behaviours.
Systemic oppression is still a huge issue in our society. But rather than understand the complexity of the systems and impact those systems are having on the people being oppressed by them, we simplify them.
“People are poor because they are lazy” simple, clean, easy. Let’s not let any context or understanding of one of the most complex issues facing our society creep in. It’s all about effort, making it entirely their fault and since it’s their own fault they can fix it themselves.
No need to get involved. No need to see how we are actually supporting that oppression. No need to be part of the change. The answer is easy, go get a job.
We do this over and over and over. Creating ways of thinking that do nothing more than reinforce the norm. A norm that often benefits us at the expense of the very people we are called to love.
In the end both of these ways of thinking do exactly the same thing. They stop us from changing. They stop us from loving.
They stop us from being Christian.