A new model

Mar 28, 2011

So Horatio Alger’s “Go west, young man” no longer calls  us. And Teddy Roosevelt’s “Walk softly and carry a big stick” no longer works in the world. John F. Kennedy’s challenge, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” has faded away. The old American myths have lost their power, too—George Washington wouldn’t tell a lie; Abraham Lincoln stood tall against slavery. We know too much about the humanness of these people to believe the myths.

We need a new myth of how we Americans, men and women, are to be in the world. A mythic story would galvanize us to be all that we were created to be into the world.

I see us as a new warrior archetype, not soldiers. I see us as a balance of the masculine and the feminine, complete in ourselves, whole, and healed. I see us as unshakable in our faith, not having anything to prove. I see us as armored by love. I see us standing up for the things we hold dear. I see us as less busy and more integrated. I see us as knowing who we are and what we stand for.

I see us as modeling the behavior of Jesus whose only aggressive action was to overturn the money-changing tables at the temple and to challenge the powers that be. This new-style warrior doesn’t need to fight because no one can take anything of value from him and he does not need anything from anyone else. He would fight only to defend himself or his loved ones, if they were attacked.

I see us as healers for a world that needs healing from suffering and abuse.  I see us as speakers of the truth.  I see us as equals of every single man and woman on earth. Being richer, smarter, better looking or more powerful means nothing in the scheme of things—we are still simply human beings and deserve to be treated like every other human being.

I see our ideas rise and fall on their own merit, not because anyone is manipulating us to believe or embrace them. I see us standing up for what we believe and allowing every other human being the right to do the same.

I see us in the company of, yes, people like us and in the company of those unlike us, learning to value their contributions to the whole of life. I see us deeply connected to God with mind and heart and soul and to all life, human and plant and animal and rock– which he created. I see us leading the life we were created to have, giving back to the world out of our created selves exactly what the world needs.

When Jesus said “Come, follow me,”[1] this is what he modeled and wanted us to emulate: a deep relationship with God, a love of and caring for marginalized people, healing of the blind, lame, bleeding, etc., teaching what he knew to be true, calling out those who were off-course, and a willingness to go where God sent him, even to the cross. He knew who he was and what he was to do. He is our model, certainly a warrior even to death.

We have less than a handful of modern models of this new warrior archetype: the Rev. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. They saw what role they needed to play on the world stage and did it without violence. As human as they were, they helped thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of people, and left us a legacy of a new way to be in the world. Thank you! Thank you!

The new warrior, like these three, two men and one woman, one from the U.S., one from India and one from Albania, does not set out to be a star. They were ordinary people until they understood what they were called to do and proceeded to do it. What would happen if there were a hundred  new warriors doing what they were called to do in the world? Or thousands? What would the world be like?

[1] Mark 1:17 NIV

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