“The ‘Big Event’ We need Is Probably not What You think”
No, we the people do not need to face a “big event” in order for us to experience unity as a country. We need to challenge each other about the things that have set us apart , and live daily as if we were interconnected and dependent on each other for breath and life itself.
As a people, we have cultivated an unhealthy notion of (national) unity. For many Americans, unity means to raise proudly the American flag, both in the private and public spheres, and sing in unison “The Star-Spangled Banner.” American patriotism is never a substitute for upholding American democratic ideals nor is it a smokecreen for the activation of justice, equality, and dignity in our daily life. American nationalism should never be equated with xenophobia.
National unity will not occur until we acknowledge the matters that have divided us and alienated us from each other. If we’re serious about national unity, we must learn how to talk genuinely to each other about the things that matter to us, and to listen attentively in order to lean not to defend ourselves. The art of listening can bring both personal healing and collective redemption.
We will experience national unity when we can sit together to work out our differences, plan together our collective future, and collectively find a permanent solution to cure our racial wound; to restore broken homes and dysfunctional families; to stand for life–from conception to adulthood; to ameliorate the living conditions of the American poor and middle class; to improve our broken educational system; to make more equal and humane public policies; to improve our justice system; and to defend the rights of the most Vulnerable in our society.
Nonetheless, what runs deep in the American vein is a profound moral problem; the American heart is spiritually paralyzed and bankrupt. Unfortunately, we have overlooked this matter for too long, and believe wholeheartedly that spiritual fitness and healing is unnecessary to attain shalom and joy in this world, and to achieve the common good. We must first solve this dilemma—which has both individual and collective effects–before we can successful move forward to explore future possibilities for ourselves and our children, and to claim the promising future awaiting for us as a people.
May the God of grace and loving-kindness make his face shine upon us and give us the courage as we act upon our individual and collective responsibility to genuinely repent of our sins and forgive each other, and to intentionally pursue justice and holistic healing.