October 2018: Autumn in Florida

Silver ChaliceAutumn in Florida, even our panhandle, is not a time for turning leaves. Brilliant images of golds, reds, yellows foliage is more Shenandoah Valley, the Berkshires than Boggy Bayou. I’m assured my Halloween we’ll have some ‘fallish’ temps and weather. We’ll see.

Our nation is in the midst a brutal political struggle with important elections – local and national. Forces of greed and exclusiveness are hell bent on controlling our government locally and nationally in disregard, contempt for principles of interdependency, compassion, and justice. Public health, adequate health care for all, public education, protected environment that serves the sacred life cycle, social and physical infrastructure is starved for funds by forces of profit. Protection of huge wealth is more critical for the power brokers than human needs and future generations. The divisiveness and polarization are so very demoralizing and yet attempts at compromise, understanding, and cooperation are cynical mocked and rejected.

I’m enough of a historian to know there have been severely dire times before in the human story. But I also know that since nuclear power became an option for policy and war making, and other wonderous and frightful scientific discoveries became widespread, that given the abuses of predatory power (economic, religious, and racial) life on this planet is in danger. Real danger. Proliferation of population if desperately poor and devastated environmental zones is terrifying.

And yet being stuck by an asteroid, aneurism, or a drunk driver on Eglin Blvd. is a real danger and life threatening. Perspective is critical here.

Taking all this in is utterly overwhelming. Soul freezing. What is there to do? First there is no fail-safe answer? There is no hopeful guarantee that I can offer. But be suspect of anyone who has one, OK?

I don’t peddle heaven or salvation except in that each of us process imagination and will. We also matter. Each action me make influences others, our environment. We do make compromises with the lesser good and yet as walking wounded we can, though intentionality and steadfastness, love life enough to defy those who would defile it with disregard for our shared, interrelated existence. We all live downstream. We are all related. We can aspire to live principles that regard as holy our interdependent life. When someone is hurt, we are hurt. When someone is hungry we are hungry. Compassion and empathy matter.

The seasons will change. Politics will change. May we claim the courage, though our aspirations and choices, to be a part of the changes needed for there to be a humane, livable Florida Panhandle and world. It is truly a holy calling…caring enough to feel and act as we’d want everyone to behave for the sake of health, wholeness, and happiness everyone (and everything).

Love – Doak
The Reverend Doak M Mansfield