“You have to put up with things the way they are.”
- What if the price for getting a good job in your community is pollution of the local water sources?
- What if new industrial jobs require an upshot in cancer rates?
- What if being married to a husband who can provide a nice home means putting up with his bad temper?
- What if living in an area with minimal gun regulations results in increased levels of accidental gun deaths?
Again, I’m loving Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild as I try to understand our nation’s political/religious divide. (Note to Washington, DC people: Dr. Hochschild will be at Kramer Books next week.)
Community Organizers are known for working towards a world as it should be, not the world as it is. The Louisianans interviewed by Dr. Hochschild are suspicious of Community Organizers as a whole and the divide strikes me as a theological one.
There are Christians who believe that no matter what happens in this life – environmental disasters, cancer, domestic violence, gun violence – it’s okay because everything will be perfect in heaven.
And there are other Christians who believe that we are called to seek God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven.” In other words, we will fight pollution, cancer, domestic abuse, and senseless gun deaths because we believe that God calls us to make this earth a little bit more like heaven here and now.
Throughout Arlie Hochschild’s book, those she interviews and befriends people who say, “That’s just the way it is.” Racism, Sexism, Crime, Climate Change, Poverty? That’s just the way it is. Pollution is the price for capitalism. Accidental deaths are the price for a the government minding its own business.
One acquaintance of Hochschild’s – in a dinner table debate with a neighbor arguing about a local pipeline leak – said, “You want everything to be perfect, for companies to make no mistakes, and we can’t live like that.”
I wonder if that’s a simplistic difference between conservatives and liberals:
- Some of us believe “that’s just the way the world is” and we put up with unheavenly things because God will bring perfect justice in the next life.
- And some of us believe “that we must work towards the world as it should be” choosing not to put up with unheavenly things because God calls us to seek justice on earth. And perfect justice will happen in the next life.
Still grappling with understanding how my Christian siblings could vote for someone who seems like the anti-thesis of Jesus. And perhaps they are still grappling with me. It would be lovely to talk about these things with each other openly and respectfully.
Image source. Again – thanks TW.