Thursday, June 21, 2012

why should I be the first to change?

I just re-read this commentary and a thought came to mind of another similar story about people in a jail with a large pot of soup in the middle and they each have spoons long enough to reach the soup but the spoons are too long to feed themselves, they have to feed one another.  They starve because nobody will go first and feed another for fear they won't be fed themselves.

COMMENTARY 779.1: Dying From the Cold Within
by Michael Josephson on June 8, 2012
One of the great challenges to our humanity is acknowledging and overcoming our natural tendency to think less of and discriminate against people who are different than us racially, ethnically, religiously or ideologically.

Despite persistent rhetoric about prizing diversity, political debates often reflect disdain and contempt for those we disagree with and prejudices of all sorts are more readily stated.  Indeed, there are disturbing signs that anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic attitudes are rising throughout the world.
 
A poem written in the 1970s by James Patrick Kinney called “The Cold Within” reminds us what’s at stake.

Six humans trapped by happenstance,
In black and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood,
Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs,
The first woman held hers back.
For on the faces around the fire,
She noticed one was black.

The next man looking ‘cross the way,
Saw one not of his church,
And couldn’t bring himself to give,
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes;
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use,
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought,
Of the wealth he had in store,
And how to keep what he had earned,
From the lazy, shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge,
As the fire passed from his sight,
For all he saw in his stick of wood,
Was a chance to spite the white.

And the last man of this forlorn group,
Did naught, except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave,
Was how he played the game.

The logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.
 
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Then I am reminded of the book "Why Should I Be The First To Change" by Nancy Missler.  It's a small little book with a powerful punch.  I think perhaps I need to slide it off my bookshelf and let it lead me through the screaming and rebellion I am in right now.

Perhaps this is part of the process?  The faith issues, the not volunteering. The growing selfishness.  Part of the process I am in to take me where God is leading me.  Where I am seems worse than where I was, but I understand that sometimes our journey feels that way.  It doesn't mean the destination isn't worth going to.

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