Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gratitude as Resistance: An Ancient Idea for our Collective Anxiety

 


 

You know that time when the apostle Paul says “don’t worry about anything” I sometimes wonder if he could get away with that today.
Image via CreationSwap.com
Image via CreationSwap.com

For example: Did you know that Congress recently had an approval rating of 9 percent? To put that in perspective, 11 percent of citizens want the Unites States to be a Communist country . It’s a lower rate than people who would approve of polygamy! While this is sort of hilarious, it’s also pretty depressing.

Thank God (literally) there isn’t a poll on the approval rating of the church, but as a ministry leader in Seattle, trust me when I say that what makes the headlines is not what anyone would call good news. Throw into the mix the global unraveling we are witnessing in the Middle East, Iraq, and our own treatment of immigrants, and it’s sort of difficult to keep our collective chins up.
So yes, it might feel tough to log onto Facebook, or read the New York Times these days and feel like there is no reason to be anxious. Good thing for us the verse doesn’t end as a pejorative blanket statement. You know, the kind that so often feels like a cheap mandate to simply ignore reality? Instead, it names that that there lots for reasons for why we are surrounded by anxiety. But, in the eloquent paraphrase of the Philippians passage by Eugene Peterson, we are invited to:
“let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.”
For me at least, this has radically shifted my approach to life and ministry. At the heart of it is the stubborn reminder that God is actually out ahead of me.

Read more at http://sojo.net/blogs/2014/08/19/gratitude-resistance-ancient-idea-our-collective-anxiety

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