Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fix-It Thinking

Who will ever forget Oscar Rogers on SNL during the early stages of the economic crisis? FIX IT. Find a problem, and FIX IT. Find another problem and FIX IT. Three steps:

1. Fix
2. It

He said the light at the end of the tunnel had broken, and “somebody needs to crawl down to the end of that tunnel and FIX IT!”

It was a beautiful satire on what many of us were doing; pointing fingers, ascribing blame and waiting for someone to FIX IT. If this crisis has taught us anything, it surely must be that no one person and no one thing will fix this situation. It will require a lot of people working together over a long period of time to fix it.

It seems to be human nature to expect someone to FIX IT.

Whole theologies have been built on it. As if the planet is a frail experiment, with a supernatural God fixing and meddling, manipulating and “guilting”, repairing and adjusting. As if prayer is seeking an external God to crawl down to the light at the end of the tunnel of our frail existences and FIX IT. As if the church has some divine authority over our spiritual destiny, to FIX IT.

The need for someone to rescue humanity is itself a problem that needs to be FIXED. It leads to inaction, and broken dreams. Of if you think that you are the fixer, it takes other people’s power away.

Live as though everything depends on you. Or, to use Dietrick Bonhoeffer’s phrase, “live as if there were no God”. This was his attempt to call a post war Christianity (battle hardened and worldly wise) to come of age, to get real and to take responsibility.

The counter point to self responsibility is that the world is made up of people and processes that function outside of me, but are not altogether separate from me. So how do I balance self responsibility and my intimate relationship with all else?

There is a religious maxim, “Believe as if everything depends on God, but live as if everything depends on you.” Maybe this is a reminder that I co-create reality in unison with the flow of Life itself. Or maybe it’s a reminder to balance self responsibility with a detachment from outcomes. I’m not certain what it means. But it does feel right to me to hold a balance between creating my own reality and wearing this same reality as a loose garment for it will surely change.

Susan Jeffers said, “Are you a ‘victim,’ or are you taking responsibility for your life?” I vow to keep Oscar Roger’s voice in my head when I lapse into acting like a victim. FIX IT is a powerless plea. I am a competent, prepared and strong person who creates my own destiny. My destiny finds its expression as an integral part of a cosmic destiny that will flow with or without me. I choose to flow with Life.

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