By Jillian Langford
I am the daughter of a newspaper copy editor. Growing up with a father whose job it was to literally read the newspaper front to back everyday meant that my own childhood was filled with conversations about current events, politics, and news about the world. It was not uncommon to find articles on the same topic from three or four different news sources on the kitchen table in the morning, each showing a different perspective or angle.
I was fortunate to grow up in a family that valued and acknowledged differences. Even if my dad preferred one news outlet to another, he instilled in me the importance of looking at the same story from a different perspective. Only when seeing the story from multiple angles can we see the full picture.
Although I was raised learning to see different perspectives, especially when it comes to the news, I cannot help but find myself prone to anger and frustration by the headlines I read on my phone each morning, and the podcasts that report the division occurring in my country and the world. Although I continue to do my best to see both sides of the same story, I find myself seeing anger, frustration, and even hate from both sides, no matter where I look. Seeing my friends and family debating one another online, protesting in the streets while others celebrate, and mixing mourning with celebration has left me finding it harder to see the whole picture, and wanting to just throw in the towel and pick “my side” to fight on.
These headlines, and our reactions to them, reveal that we are living in a deeply divided culture. Division leaves us filled with frustration, anger, and hopelessness. This is because our world is not meant to be fractured and divided, but the very evolutionary nature of the cosmos points to fulfillment from movement toward a deeper union in love.
In her most recent article for the Center for Christogenesis website, ‘Gun Violence and Technology,’ Ilia Delio wrote: “The world is in process of becoming something more than what it is, but it takes a conscious awareness of belonging to the cosmic whole in order to help creatively evolve towards greater wholeness. We cannot begin to know this wholeness if we are constantly distracted, self-promoting and self-justified in every thought and action. If we do not contribute to the ongoing evolution of the whole, in which God is the vitalizing center, we will be its breakdown.”
In the midst of deep division, it is easy for our first reaction to be anger. While these emotions can certainly feel justified given the circumstances, what is even more necessary than immediate emotional response is deep thought that leads to actions that facilitate wholeness and complexity. Teilhard de Chardin wrote about how persons are evolution become conscious of itself. In and through deep thought, not only do we reflect on the world in its current state, but we are able to begin seeing the whole and contributing to the creation of the universe through our reflections. If Teilhard is right, and we are truly evolution becoming conscious of itself, our actions, responses, and emotions play a role in the formation and evolution of the world as we know it. Our task, especially when navigating the sea of ominous headlines, is to reflect, think deeply, and direct our lives toward the wholeness that we see lacking around us as evolution conscious of itself. Only then can we act as co-creators together with God in an evolving world, and realize the wholeness for which we are longing.
Read Ilia’s recent article as referenced: “Gun Violence and Technology” – Click here.
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