What your vision?
What’s your vision? For you life, your community, your congregation, your business, your nation, the world? Do you have one, or are you just floating along? Or maybe it’s something else that fits into the nice defined options of either/or. Maybe you aligned with someone else’s vision – probably because it’s compelling. Maybe you have a variation of a vision? Maybe all the talk about vision is something you have never thought about.
Where are you headed? Where are we headed? I’m not asking the same question as some of my more evangelical and fundamentalist siblings who ask the question with their eye on the eternal with two destinations in the distant future. I’m asking where are we headed as humanity and civilization? Not just in my lifetime, but in future generations also.
Jesus presented a vision. He called it the Kingdom of God. In Mark 1, we hear Jesus say that the time is fulfilled and that the Kingdom of God is at hand. That means it’s right now, unfolding in our midst. So live as if it is completed. And then he went on did just that – proclaiming the Good News and inviting people into this vision. By Mark 6 we see what this means. He’s telling overworked people to rest. He sees people and has compassion on them. He heals the sick. He’s not just talking about a vision – he’s living into it and invites us to live into it as well.
Here’s what I would love to see us move towards and live into right now. And yes, I know that there are huge holes in what I’m about to present – This isn’t a policy proposal with details about implementation and paying for it. If you all you are going to do is criticize what I am envisioning, then please just stop reading now, because that’s not point of this exercise. Jesus didn’t get caught up in all of that either. He had a vision and just started living into it. I think we don’t spend enough time envisioning where we are going. I think we have become lazy in our visioning. So I invite you to share your vision too. I’m not going to criticize it. I want to share in your excitement of the vision you are casting. Maybe our visions are in alignment. Maybe they aren’t. Who cares honestly. I want to celebrate visioning, and see where we are heading. And to start living into them.
So without further ado, here’s my vision:
No more political parties. Partisanship is killing us. Our partisan loyalties have surpassed our national identity and our religious identity. That’s not healthy. So let’s get rid of them. This would force candidates for office to actually have to propose policies, rather than just relying on an R or D after their name. It would make voters pay attention more if they actually care about voting. It would allow for more working with people in government because there wouldn’t be pointless partisan label being in the way. Not a cure all, for sure, but certainly an improvement. Our hope and salvation don’t reside in political parties that will go out of existence, so why not speed up them going out of existence.
How about we actually do health care. Our current system is actually sick care. We are incentivized to wait until we are not well before we do something. It makes more sense to do preventative care. It costs less in terms of our health, our wellness, and money.
Education. I don’t pretend to have even a small answer to this, but I have one idea that I think would be transformative – teaching history from different people’s perspective each month for a year. How eye opening would it be to hear what life is like as a black person, an immigrant, an LGBTQIA person, etc. It would allow us to see the challenges people have lived through. It would allow us to consider history from the stand of humility, rather than boastfulness. It would allow us to see the image of God in others.
How about we invest in infrastructure that encourages healthy habits – walking paths, riding bikes, public transportation. Movement. This would require moving sidewalks away from the street to keep people safe, installing lights, maintaining the pathways, making it easier to move throughout communities. Bike paths, walking paths, etc. We would be getting out more. We would be healthier. We’d probably be more social too. And we might actually care more about the environment too.
Here’s a small policing strategy – Policing that starts off with the assumption of help rather than assuming everyone is doing something illegal and they need to be caught. How about officers start by saying “How can I help you?” instead of “license and registration”? How about we get rid of unmarked cars and police cars that are practically unmarked – make them obnoxiously obvious as to where they are so that people know they are there to help – not assume the worst.
A consistent life ethic – This would include a number of things that many people probably don’t consider a part of life issues. Seriously, move beyond the abortion debate – that’s just not productive. Want to reduce abortion – then care for the rest of people’s lives. People would be more willing to bring children into the world if they know they won’t be struggling to survive. Offer pre-natal care, long maternity and paternity leave, health care for everyone, child care, humane elderly care that is life giving and full of meaning and more.
Religion – Churches that actually focus on living into discipleship, rather than finding ways to exclude people. As a person of faith, it disturbs me that so many churches are focused on finding ways to condemn people, rather then invite people into Good News.
No homelessness because we have housing for people. Yes, give people housing. It’s far less costly than homelessness – for everyone.
Work – You are not your work. Your identity doesn’t come from your work. The so-called Protestant Work Ethic is BS. And it’s not even good Protestant theology. Work is not bad. But it should not be all consuming. Our value doesn’t derive from our work.
Creation care – Yes, we have a responsibility to care for the planet. So let’s move away from fossil fuels and doing things that strip the planet. There are amazing technological advancements that we could incorporate that would help the planet and in turn help humanity.
No more billionaires – it is hoarding.
Let’s have public spaces that aren’t just there, but rather there is intention with using them and caring for them. One fo the biggest needs people express is the need for community. We are have space to make this happen, as long as we are intentional.
Here’s a good controversial one – Let’s redo the Constitution every generation (about 20 years). A Constitution is an understanding between the people of how they will live together for the next 20 years. The Founder Fathers aren’t divine nor were they divinely inspired. I imagine we’ll keep a good portion of what they came up with. And we’ll scratch other parts because they just don’t work for us any more. The Constitution isn’t sacred. It’s been changed many times before.
Fewer municipalities. These end up being fiefdoms. There is no need for the number of municipalities. It’s inefficient and costly. Getting rid of some of these would reduce government.
Instead of term limits for politicians for specific offices, how about a lifetime limit, regardless of what office a person holds. How about 10 years?
How about a society that is based on caring for people. A society that discourages toxic individualism.
That’s my vision. Maybe you don’t consider it a vision – that’s fine. These are the things that I think would improve lives. What are your ideas to improve lives.