More "Lenten Promises", well after Lent is over.
I originally wrote this back in late-April but realized this was a really, tough, college-final type question. It wasn't something I could answer in one sitting. It wasn't something that I would answer and it would be "done". It was the type of question that could be batted back and forth by thinking people, with no two ever coming to the same conclusion.
And, if you've known me long enough, you know that I can be convinced to back down on the really hard stuff without much prodding. Hence, six weeks of this post sitting in queue, taunting me, and my brain screaming "WHY IS THIS SO HARD?"
I'm going to take two Tylenol. You? Read on.
What is your vision for society? If you were president, what would you champion to change? What hill would you want the country (or world?) to take?
Let me start by pissing off the entire feminist coalition in the Americas by stating the following: I don't believe women should be President.*
I am extraordinarily conservative when it comes to this one point. And it is based on the fact that I believe women should take a hint from the Bible and allow men to lead.
I don't see this as subservience in a negative sense; I see it as God's way of protecting families by showing us the best way to organize the people in the family, top to bottom.
I don't see that I am missing out on anything by letting my husband be the main breadwinner. I gain a great deal of satisfaction out of allowing my children to be my crown and giving Mike the credit for bringing home the bacon (even though I drive the car that picks it up from the store.)
I don't see women are equipped, emotionally or psychologically, for the tasks that a President must take on daily. Women are emotionally wired in a very different way than men and making life or death decisions as the leader of a country is asking too much of us.
Now that that is out of the way, knowing that I will NEVER take on the task of President because I don't believe that is in God's will for my female life, I can answer the next hypothetical question: What is my vision for society?
I've never given this much thought, but the first thing that comes to mind is that I would like to live in a world where every person is so focused on every one else that it is hard to unravel where charity and love and peace start. There would be no starting point because everyone would participate and no one would drop out. And, because that is the case, there would be no end to all that is good.
Even though it is far from original, "Pay it forward" would be my mantra. Simple acts of kindness would generate more simple acts of kindness which would beget larger acts, and so on.
Perfection, for me, includes
1. That no one would consider their home "theirs", that they would open it to strangers and require little/nothing in exchange.
I watched a movie a few years ago about the Depression. In it, people were renting out rooms in their homes, not only to make the mortgage, but to help those in need. There was community built through this act; people became family, living under one roof, sharing common meals, learning about each other's history. It was a beautiful time in an otherwise ugly period of society.
I can also recount acts of kindness during Hitler's reign, when Jewish families were hidden by other families, at their own peril. I'm sure history is dotted with periods of time where this was the case, some we will never know about.
But, it shouldn't take crisis to bring out the best in us....
We should take a clue from people like the Tuohy's, and take in a young man in need. We should search our hearts and decide if adoption, foreign or domestic, fits into our family. We should be willing to open the doors and pantries and closets and ask "What do you need today?"
2. That people who were beneficiaries of charity would not only really NEED it, but that they would actively find ways to repay it, once they were able.
To that end, I would take the government out of the welfare game. Social programs wouldn't be supported by the masses. Instead, charity would be handled at the local level through community centers, churches, synagogues, and individuals.
If this were to happen, there would be no shame in receiving welfare because it would be temporary instead of shackling. Today's handout would put the person in need back on their feet and out of gratitude that handout would become the next in a chain of handouts, helping people learn to get back up on their feet and not become chained to welfare programs that, I believe, cripple people from ever finding their own sense of self.
3. That people would show up to work, not for the purpose of gathering more for themselves, but to earn their wage to give away sacrificially.
If you were to volunteer in tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri this very day, you would be doing this work. You'd be helping people pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and limp forward. You'd be foregoing what is comfortable and easy and "normal" and putting yourself on the front lines for other people.
If you've ever made the decision to forgo something you really want to give something to someone that they really need, you know this feeling. There is something hair-raisingly wonderful about giving to others without compulsion. In some small way, when we give out of the goodness of our hearts, we become closer to the perfection that is Christ. We don't become Christ, we emulate Him, through our giving. Maybe that's why it feels so.darn.good?!
In my idea of society perfected, we'd all be working toward a common goal of ensuring that everyone has food, shelter and clothing. There would be no hoarding, simply open-hands to work together in love.
Call me a Pollyanna if you like (that wouldn't be the first time someone has), but I do believe people can do so much better. I believe Christ can work in their hearts and help them find a way to selflessness. I believe we can become a society that is utopian without focusing on the "u".
God help all of us learn to do this.
*I can't wait to see the hate comments on that one.