Action Vs. Reaction: A Bridge To Somewhere

I see that so many blogs and platforms and ministries are built out of reactionary backlash against a previous injury.  “We got hurt this way, so let’s do it the other way.”  Or, “You were taught this wrong, so let me set it straight for you.”

I do think it’s totally right to love on people who got burned by the same thing you did. I think those who’ve been hurt by an oppressive culture need a common ground to vent their grievances and to form an alliance of understanding.

But I also think that making an entire platform on the anti-ground of your hurt will only perpetuate that hurt — because left unchecked, it will eventually breed smug self-righteousness and superiority.

You can see it in the endless reblog wars.  You can see it in public shaming.  You can see it in the Reformation.  The whole parachurch is basically just a middle-finger to the mainstream church.  Reformed Calvinism is a response to the seeker-sensitive movement.  And Contemplative Spirituality is a response to Calvinism.  And so on, it goes.

If you proudly declare, “We don’t do it like those guys” and “I’m not like those other people,” you’re really just powering up through cannibalism.  You’re eating flesh to drive flesh.  And if you do this long enough, the values you instill into your new culture will be overreactions based on bitterness and arrogance.  These are unstable poisonous foundations that will inevitably collapse.

I hope we can start up movements that are not reactions, but initiative actions.  I hope our words are not always talking back, but talking forward.  I hope we can be original instead of derivative.  I hope we are not motivated solely by the pain we feel — because even though it can work for a while, healing cannot come by deconstruction.  It only comes by re-creation, by introducing something new into the world.  And we each have this powerful ability to weaponize our words or to breathe life with them.  Our hands can build bridges towards oblivion or toward each other.

I hope for bridges that bring us closer.

— J