Unbutu is a southern African philosophy that says that we become people through other people. Never in my lifetime have these words seemed so far off, and not because they come from Africa.
I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be negative. But it’s true.
Ours is a very self-centered society. Collectively, our hearts are hard. Collectively, our politics are hurtful, cynical and shortsighted. Collectively, our relationships are disposable. There are exceptions to that rule. But in general, I think we know this is true.
And I think that if we are honest with ourselves, we know that collectively we can do better. We know that the collective isolation we are choosing as a society is not good for us. We are dying of loneliness.
I’ve just finished my Communion liturgy for Sunday. Our children will be celebrating Palm Sunday – a time when lonely and marginalized people sought to move from “Me to We” to coin a phrase. The entire service is devoted to ceding control of time so as to be free to come together.
I have a serious question for us to ponder. I say “us” in the spirit of Unbutu.
What in your life is keeping you hostage to isolation – the kind of isolation that keeps you from contributing to the greater good?
If you are feeling discouraged or frustrated by this question, my guess is that you are not as close to UNBUTU as you might be.
That can be a tough question to face.
When I am scared of it, I realize that I see a mountain in front of me that I feel I need to climb alone. But I am not alone when I am with my community of faith.
When I am frustrated by it, I realize that I see a lack of empathy, starting with me. But there is empathy to be found when I am with my community of faith.
When I am apathetic towards it, I realize that I am letting cynicism get the better of me. But I am far less cynical when I am with my community of faith.
That’s me. What’s it like for you?
I am sure that we can all- look to our lives and find times when we are okay, happy and satisfied even. But the world is not okay, happy or satisfied.
If this message is ringing true on some level, drop me a line. I’ll introduce you to others for whom it’s ringing true too.