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Our Worst Selves and Better Selves

Posted: September 05, 2017

We have seen our worst selves and our best selves as a nation over the last couple of weeks. We have seen hatred, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism on parade complete with torches, Nazi flags, helmets and semiautomatic weapons in Charlottesville. We saw a young woman lose her life and numerous people injured at a counter protest against racism and bigotry on news reports and social media. Holocaust survivors and their families were reminded again about the horrors of WWII. Veterans, military leaders and citizens have courageously denounced these activities.

A couple of weeks later, with people still trying to process the events in the national spotlight, we have seen a natural disaster engulf Houston. It’s estimated that 30,000 people have been displaced from their homes. Homes and lives have been lost… We have seen neighbors helping neighbors. Strangers have shown acts of kindness to help people cope with their grief, devastation and loss. Businesses, churches and community groups have mobilized to meet the immediate needs of those without food, shelter, clothing, or clean water.

At times like these… We have choices. We can speak out against injustice, bigotry and hate. We can reclaim public spaces and articulate what we value. We can hold our elected leaders accountable to respond quickly to the tragedy in Houston. We can make a difference ourselves.

In a broader sense, we need to consider what kind of nation we want to live in. Do we want to live in a place filled with hatred, and anger where there is only room for some, not all or do we want to live in a nation where people help each other when they are in need? How do we support friends, neighbors and colleagues who feel disparaged and threatened by recent events? How do we help those who have lost everything?

These are not political questions; ultimately they are questions of what we believe and what we value. We are never promised lives without difficulty or hardship in the Gospel; we are told that even in the midst of darkness, God is there with us.

We can see what love, compassion and hope look like with the tragic events in Houston. This is the call of faith, to be our better selves. We can also see the darker side.

--Maura Schnorbach