I’m not interested in a Christian message that says you’re worthless or one that says God’s plan for you is to be the next American Idol. They both seem damaging to human relationships, both caught in an economy of comparison & competition. I think the Christian message is that you’re enough & that we are called to love each other as human beings, not as people who accomplish, or do not accomplish, well, anything.
In the first message, where we are deemed worthless, we compare ourselves to others and find that we are not good enough. We are told that God has a better plan for us, that if we follow his guidelines, we will be winners, not losers.
In the second message, where we are destined for great things, we compare ourselves to others and find that we have won. We thank God for our win even though our thankfulness implies God is behind everyone else’s loss (see above).
So, when I win, God made me win and therefore God wanted everyone else to lose. Which means, when I lose, I’m not good enough for God to make win.
This cycle is endless. Every person who thanks God for a win is implicating God in the pain and loss of others. My belief is that the message of Christianity is not contained in individual accomplishment at all, but in the connections and relationships between individuals. That is, it’s not a question of winners or losers, it’s about playing a different game altogether.
Or, to put it more bluntly, I honestly don’t think God gives a shit about our accomplishments. He doesn’t care who wins the Super Bowl or the little league championship, who gets the raise and who successfully starts their own business. Against the backdrop of embrace, belonging, exclusion, and shame, I think our accomplishments are white noise, a figment of the American imagination, used more often to use people in the name of God than to support them.
The key word in this new economy is “enough.”
Enough calls us to love ourselves.
Enough calls us to love each other as human beings, not as people who accomplish.
Enough calls us to love greatly, not to be great.