Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message, makes an honest statement in his memoir: “I love being an American. I love this place in which I have been placed—its language, its history, its energy. But I don’t love ‘the American way,’ its culture and values.
“I don’t love the rampant consumerism that treats God as a product to be marketed. I don’t love the dehumanizing ways that turn men, women, and children into impersonal roles and causes and statistics. I don’t love the competitive spirit that treats others as rivals and even as enemies.”
I can’t hear Peterson’s words without reflecting on my own life. My parents were the children of immigrants who came over from Poland and Ireland in the late 1800’s. My grandparents saw America as the land of opportunity, where they would be free from religious persecution, could start businesses to provide for their family and raise their children within a community.
It’s been 130 years since my grandparents arrived at Ellis Island. Has America changed or have we?
Do we treat God like a product to be marketed with more programs and flashy worship services?
Do we make generalizations instead of treating people as individuals to be loved?
Are we so eager to get ahead that everyone is a rival and enemy until proven otherwise?
It may take a revolution to turn our “buy me” culture on its ear, to go back to having real relationships instead of Facebook “friends,” and to look upon all people as someone to care for, rather than someone to judge.
I can’t control others, but the revolution starts within me.
Blessings, my friend,
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