Me-ism in our world
It is a simple graphic! But as we have heard since our youth, “pictures are worth a thousand words.” The graphic illustrates two common, but disastrous, attitudes.
The first attitude is a myopic view of problems. I can’t see anything beyond what affects me.
The second is like unto the first. I can’t see problems that do not appear to affect me now.
Both of these are manifestations of a tendency as old as civilization. “Me-ism”!
The cartoon perfectly captures these two manifestations of the same problem. But being “high and dry” is an illusion.
Isn’t this one of the problems today in coping with the pandemic of the coronavirus. Just because I don’t feel sick doesn’t mean that I am not a carrier of the virus. Out of concern for those I love (every other child of God, not just those significant in my life), I need to develop the habit of wearing a mask when appropriate as well as more frequent hand washing.
It is in our best interest to step back and see how we are focusing on only ourselves being “high and dry.” The first commitment for each of us must be to work toward a shift from being “me-focused” to “we-focused”. Either that or not pray “OUR Father”.
Ecclesiastical forms of Me-ism
I see versions of me-ism in Body of Christ today.
At times I hear clergy and laity each concerned about keeping their end of the boat high in the water.
Laity feel that many in leadership have been blind to the pain and needs of ordinary men and women in the pews or other parts of the Body of Christ.
Many church leaders have only a superficial understanding of why so many people are jumping ship. They double down on what they are convinced should stop them from jumping ship.
St. Paul writing to the Corinthians put it well
14 For the body is not one part, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has arranged the parts, each one of them in the body, just as He desired.
A novel idea – listening to and respecting each other!
In about a month, Pope Francis will begin a three-year “synodal process” for the entire church to listen to each other. It has been described as the most ambitious project for Catholic renewal since the Second Vatican Council.
Each diocese has been asked to hold a synod: a listening and discernment exercise involving everyone in the church, which will then feed into a national and continental-wide process. Finally, in the fall of 2023, the process will culminate with a three-week gathering in Rome.
Actually, this process has roots in the first council of Jerusalem some 2000 years ago. Vatican II with the leadership of Pope Paul VI was moving the church in this direction.
The people of God is more than just either clergy or laity. The three-year process is simply taking seriously our need to listen to one another.
Please reread… and pray… this chapter.