This has been the most difficult Reflection I have ever attempted. I was trying to focus on renewal, but I kept hitting a wall, writer’s block. It was only recently that I realized that I was focusing on resistance rather than renewal, that was my block. My mind had locked itself into the immediate future. What would Trump do this coming year, what was going to happen, what could I do? I had placed myself in a reactive, rather than proactive position. By focusing on the immediate future I neglected the long view that renewal takes.
So I started again, taking a long term view of renewal, just as the Earth does. What is it that we are building toward, what kind of world do we want to see, and what are the steps that we can take along the way? We must realize that we can’t get from here to there without going through the forests and wilderness that lies in between. We need a map.
One of the problems that I, and possibly many of you, have been having is that my current map was built around a particular view of the federal government. I saw it as a resource for moving the country towards a more open and inclusive society. The federal court system was a major part of my map, the road to equal justice for all. The lasting legacy of Trump might be his skewed appointments to the federal courts. How do I map that on the road to equal justice, a bypass?
So I am now trying to build a map of renewal for a country I am no longer sure that I understand. There was a phrase we used to use, think globally, act locally. So my map begins with the places I think that I know, San Francisco, the Bay Area and to some degree, California. Work to strengthen what we have and support one another, here. The differences we have locally that seem so important can be distractions. First I must recognize that most of those with whom I seem to disagree are not so different and that we tend towards agreement on most of the really important issues. Senator Jeff Flake’s book, “Conscience of a Conservative,” shows how he and I agree on some topics, while we disagree on others. That offers a possibility for discussion. If I can only be civil with people who agree with me on everything, I end up talking to myself and that map leads nowhere.
Will there be places on my map where I put, “There be dragons here.” ? Probably, I have been to, and lived in, some of those places. Is there anything I can do to remove the dragons? Unfortunately, at my age, I suspect that will be a task for others. But I know that I am not alone. There are other places in the country where evidence based and science based are not considered alternative facts. Linking to them is part of my task in building a new map. It has to be a map of what I am for, and not what I am against. It must show a way where I will not argue with, or disparage, people who have the same goals as I, but see alternative ways to get there. We need to not argue about our maps, but discuss the realities of what we are trying to map, so that all our maps are improved.
We are on the cusp of a new year. This last year was not always the happy new year that we wished each other. But there were joys along the way. In this community we found hope and caring when we were troubled. We found the strength and determination to change the way “things are.” We found the importance of friends and family in stabilizing what seemed an unstable world. This year was only one in Earth’s more than four billion. Eleven years after this church was founded we were in a, most uncivil, Civil War. Compared to that, we are doing OK. So take the long view and build a map to the future and enjoy the legacy that surrounds you today, here, in this sanctuary. And may we all be blessed with a year that maps the journey towards justice and equality for all.