I write this from my island in Alaska---because I need it this week. The daily headlines travel all the way here. I need to shut out cynicism. I need hope and truth. And perhaps you do as well? Here we go then! 10 Ways the World is Getting Better (for real!)
1. The Miss America Pageant ended its swimsuit parade! (Sis-boom-bah with a pom-pom [but not a skimpy skirt!]) Good riddance to strutting near-naked before a panel of judges scoring their curves, weight and shape like a cow at an auction. Because naturally if you're a woman, no one can judge your real beauty---and of course we mean inside beauty---and intelligence too!---unless you're in stilettos and bikini. Chalk another “about-time” notch on the #MeToo movement.
2. It’s our time to shine! As the public square gets increasingly impulsive and insulting, believers are given an exciting glorious hour to enact Paul’s important admonitions: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone,” and “speak the truth in love.” Seize the day, grace-filled people!
3. Podcasts! A whole new world has opened to all of us hungry masses, eager to learn more about-----everything! Those empty hours commuting, cleaning bathrooms, or mending fishing nets can now be filled with artful aural blends of music, voice, fascinating ideas and people. What’s not to love? Here’s a list of Time Magazines “Best Podcasts of 2018, So far” http://time.com/5275708/best-podcasts-of-2018-so-far/
And here’s the “Big List of Christian Podcasts.”
4. Churches and Christian organizations are doing something! They are rising up to boldly (and gracefully) speak on behalf of the most vulnerable of our neighbors: immigrants, children of immigrants, unborn babies, refugees, abused women. I’m so encouraged that our faith is increasingly engendering action in the world. We are praying with our lips, and now with our hands and bodies also.
5. Your favorite superheroes will never die! "The Justice League: Civil War" reminded me that thanks to Hollywoods’ endless reboots and our own human need for heroes and resurrections, we’re all assured a constant supply of good vs. evil melees and bashes. Even when my hero (Black Panther) dies a tortuous death, I know he’ll soon rise to inspire me again. This makes me happy.
6. #MeToo, #TimesUp and #ChurchToo have put criminals in jail and male predators on notice!! Yes, we must guard against over-reaching, and all are "innocent until proven guilty," but women who routinely experience harassment and abuse at work and in the church are finally being heard. And believed. (After how many centuries?) I’m still cheering and thankful. (Because I am a MeToo too.)
7. Social media! (I know, but hear me for a minute.) We have an unprecedented chance to “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.” We get to pray for Molly who is sick, we get to laugh with Davy and Elise who are getting married, we get to thank God for Karen healing from being hit by a bus, we get to console Ben on the death of his mother. (And bonus! We get the goat-in-a-bonnet pics and the banana dump-cake recipe we’ll make for dessert. ) I’m more connected and empathetic because of it.
8. Racist tweets can cancel a popular show! I believe that more and more of us are awakening to the lies and pervasiveness of racism and are actively working to uproot and expose it, in ourselves first, and in our churches and larger world. Racism is anti-Christian, and (finally) we're getting it.
9. No more “normal.”!! (Okay, this one's hard, but let me try.) Ageism, sexism, racism and a bunch of other –isms narrowed “normal” and “beautiful” to a tiny swath of acceptable people. Human diversity is every-day real and should be recognized and represented. We’re getting there. Kanye West recently revealed his bi-polar diagnosis. Lady Gaga talks about her fibromyalgia. Glen Campbell was open about his Alzheimer’s. Models now include curvy women and women in their 70’s and 80’s. All of us in our incredible variety of shapes, sizes, ages, colors and abilities are made in the beautiful image of God. We’re doing so much better at honoring that.
10. People are loving each other more than ever. They are. Just look around. Families are going on picnics. Churches are feeding refugees and teaching them English. Mothers are riding bikes with their kids. Fathers are backpacking with their teenagers. Teachers are playing baseball with their students. Daughters and sons are caring for their elderly parents. Kids are secretly making presents for Father’s Day. Pastors are serving communion bread and wine to men and women in hospital beds. Strangers dig gardens together and become friends.
This is happening all over.
Turn off the news. Walk outside. Watch a shooting star. Breathe in the beautiful lavender night on the mountains.
The whole earth is full of the goodness of God--and we can be too. Rejoice!
Friends (people smarter than me), Would you add to my list? I'd love to hear your thoughts on ways the world is getting better!