I am writing this article under the influence of mild depression. I think the lack of sun these past couple weeks combined with a long litany of sad events is the cause. Of course I have nothing to complain about, many people suffer much worse depression than this and I am sure that mine is situational and will resolve itself soon. In any event it is enlightening to have even a little taste of what many folk go through daily. We take for granted too many things in this life, the assumptions that millions of Americans make about things like health and welfare and what we believe we need are legendary and far too often way out of balance. Understanding what “enough” is seems to be an elusive target, mostly because no one is allowed to talk about it. “How dare you question my wants and appetites, I earned everything I have”, is the attitude I get most often when I try to bring up the topic of what “enough” might be.
So, if we aren’t allowed to talk about wants vs. needs, and if the poor in this country are labeled as takers and users with no morals, and the rest of the billions in the world who legitimately do not have “enough” are in the category of “there are too many for little ole me to even begin to help”… then what do we have left? In my opinion we have a country of mostly good people who are too paralyzed by emotion and advertising and sheep mentality to get anything done. This situation is exactly what the “sellers” and money handlers want; “Just listen to our advertising telling you how good we are, keep buying and giving us your money, don’t ask questions, life is good.” We have become mesmerized by our own success and are fearful of anything that might interfere with our daily way of life. Power and money rule the world and if you have neither you have no voice, no way of communicating your opinion effectively. Sure enough, there are numerous small groups that are trying their best to get the word out about peace and justice and are trying to inspire people to find their voice and let those in power know that we are watching. These groups are vital and I support them, however I also know that they represent the 10 percent on either end of the bell curve that has always been there, the 80 percent in the middle march on, oblivious for the most part and not willing to rock the boat. Maybe I am being too negative but I am sure that unless we find a way to reach the 80 percent in the middle … our struggle may be in vain or may only show limited results. We must reach out in such a way that we can tie emo- tional, personal and monetary reasons together to effectively engage people.
Now you say … but pastor … How?
And I say, remember what you know … “I am God’s child, deserving of love and respect, and God will use me to change the world.”
If we study God’s word and keep our fellowship and community faithful to what we learn … together we can start to turn the hearts and minds of people to become a true Manna Society!
The Rev. Alan B. Eschenbacher serves as pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church.