We Are Better Together
Two news stories have been circulating through my mind in the last couple of weeks. One is very serious, and one is kind of silly. On one end of the spectrum you have the terror that is unfolding with this gruesome and depraved group in the Middle East. They torture and kill people in appalling fashion. Then they broadcast it for people to see on the internet. It’s truly terrifying. The other news story is pretty silly to be even mentioned in the same paragraph with the first. It’s Marshawn Lynch. The Seattle Seahawks running back that refuses to talk to the media. It was all the buzz leading up to the Super Bowl. Many critics were on him for his lack of participation during media conferences. Apparently it is in his contract and all NFL players contracts that they will participate in media events. Then there are some that criticize the media and the NFL for trying to force him to talk. “If he doesn’t want to talk, why make him talk?”
It’s in his contract so it’s part of his job. This may not be a fair equivalent, but I see it like reports I have to do for work. Part of my job is to report on the work I am doing. Imagine if I told my employer, I don’t want to do reports. Maybe I do my job exceptionally well, and they see that, but still they asked me to submit reports. Refusal to do it is a breach of contract and insubordination! Yet, I am hearing more and more stories of people in their jobs refusing to do certain things that are asked of them because they think it’s ridiculous. I don’t get that, but maybe I’m ignorant. Perhaps one would just call me a conformist, but I like to believe I am trying to be a team player. I think it’s understanding community and working within it. Doesn’t mean you can’t change the culture of the community, but you do it WITH the community. Complete rebellion of the dynamic of a community just comes across as individualism. This individualism is what I see as an infectious disease that is plaguing our society and our nation. I see the movement of “tolerance” and “equality” deceptively promoting individualism. I say deceptively, because I believe in equality and acceptance of others, but somehow the push to be more “open” has closed many off. What appears to be a movement of freedom seems to bring fear. There’s no equality in this, just a shift of the status quo. This shift is destroying us.
How in the world do these two stories relate? I’ve heard many accounts of people that try to join the movement of terror that is happening overseas. You might remember the three teens from Colorado that tried to fly through Germany to join this extremist group. Why? Perhaps they were searching for a sense of belonging to something, to a community. This is how gangs grow. They create a sense of family and for young kids that have no sense of family in their own homes, they find it in gangs.
My hypothesis is this: The more we grow into an individualistic society, the weaker we become against unified movements of terror. While we segregate ourselves from each other, these organizations of evil are strengthening through their façade of unity. I urge you all to look closely at the division that is impacting our nation. We are crumbling because we losing our sense of community. It seems just and fair to say, “Just let people do what they want”, but it breeds individualism and individualistic mindset. I see it happening all around me, in families, in work places, even in our churches. We can love one another, we can accept each other’s differences, but we need to revisit the structure of community. If we cannot truly stand together to protect against these groups that threaten our well-being, we will lose. Start with your neighbor. Say hello, have a conversation with them, invite them over for dinner. Operating as a community takes time and practice. I believe it is worth it. We are certainly better together. -jason