I don’t pretend to know Shane Claiborne on a personal level but he is one of my heroes in life because he lives his faith instead of just saying the words. I have been inspired and encouraged by all of this books. I embrace more of his beliefs than almost anyone I can think of.
When I came across his “14 hopes for 2014” I found a some more to add to my list. Here they are:
SQUASH NEGATIVITY. I commit to shut down murmuring and cynicism and gossip and slander and all forms of passive aggression (even on the blogosphere!) – and to exorcise the demons of negativity. St. Benedict said that speaking negatively about people (even with well-warranted reasons) is “poison”, and it rots away the foundation of community. In its place I hope to practice honest confrontation when hurt or offended and encourage others to do the same.
LAUGH OFTEN. I have a friend who says, “If we can’t laugh then the devil has already won.” Social justice folks can be so serious… and need to loosen up a little. Joy comes from the confidence that the world doesn’t have to stay the way it is. It also helps win over those who oppose you – it’s hard to hate folks who make you smile.
I love the St. Benedict quote about speaking negatively. It is indeed a poison that is rotting away our common bond. I must admit that I have in the past contributed to this plague but have vowed to not do it so much in this new year. It is hard to see people acting so contrary to what I hold dear without putting out some angry words but that is just what I hope to do. I hope St. Benedict gives me a little whisper when I start talking negatively about others.
I think I have a pretty good sense of humor and I hope it shows up at least occasionally on this blog. But I, a social justice guy, am too serious sometimes. I need to loosen up a little more. Maybe pay more attention to another of my heroes, Will Rogers, in that regard. I hope I make my readers smile on occasion. We all need a good laugh now and then.
I won’t go into the other items on my list here. Some are just too personal to share. Some are embarrassing and some need additional tuning. But I do hope that I can live up to the two that my friend Shane recently gave me. That would make me a better person and don’t we all want that for ourselves?