Lean Not On the Broken

Only putting this here because I won’t be able to read my own handwriting.


Everywhere I look, I see brokenness.

Our planet is broken.

Our economy is broken.

We throw away the unborn

We throw away the old

We throw away the workers we call heroes but don’t pay

We throw away the women

We throw away black people

And brown people

And red people

And immigrants

And anyone who isn’t American

And anyone we don’t agree with.

Our broken planet spawns pandemics,

And storms

And floods

And heat

And rising seas

And species extinction

And famine and death.

Our broken economy doesn’t pay a living wage

And exploits international workers

And destroys balance, families, lives

And prioritizes corporate quarterly profits for shareholders over sustaining communities for stakeholders,

And despoils the environment

And destroys the dreams of small businesses

Our broken culture won’t say we’re sorry

Won’t make the wrong things right

Won’t value the inherent dignity and worth of every human person and all of creation.

And we broke it.

We broke it because we are isolators.





These are some of our idols.

We live in a broken world, surrounded by our idols, with fleeting pleasure, numbing distraction, and no joy. We put false bravado faces before fears we create and feed like bonfires rather than admit weakness. We use those idols as walls and moats to keep out what we fear, in the process keeping each other out. And the only true joy is in love of the other whose presence our idols deny.

I was up in the night beating myself up for not being smart enough to root out the simple fix: the scalable policy agenda that fixes the brokenness and replaces the idols with love. It can’t be that complicated for love to translate to health, security, belonging, meaning and joyful play. An orientation to love is all you need to spark all those things. But I only know the slow, unscalable retail approach of remaking my one life and imperfectly accompanying the willing. and that does not scale.

Because even if you and I and even the people we know well enough put love in the center, the system remains idolatrously broken.

Still a climate of death and destruction.

Still an economy of greed and scarcity.

Still a politics of power and division.

Still a culture that throws away people and time.

There has to be a tax policy, a constitution, maybe, that returns the hearts of lovers, of parents to children, of neighbors to neighbors. Because the retail turning of hearts is just a pointlessly Sisyphean slog. That moral arc don’t bend. It’s just a series of micro swirls leading nowhere.

It’s into that fury that I hear:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

And lean not on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him.

And He will direct your path.

That sucks, man. Mostly because I know it’s right. Can’t there at least be a campaign? Can’t a prophet rise up to shake her fist at all the idolatry of our systems? Can’t we pressure industries and governments to change the rules? Can’t we find a shortcut through a wood we can’t otherwise cross in a lifetime?

Lean not on your own understanding.

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