Why is there so much political turmoil and what can I do about it?

We can all agree that when humanity first populated the earth–whether through a long, slow process of evolution or all at once in a garden–there used to be less of us than there are now. That in those early days we had plenty of space.

Different civilizations formed with different gods, styles of dress, languages, traditions, and faiths. And as populations grew, and the size of the planet remained the same, these civilizations began to bump up against one another and fight over territory And so enemies were made.

When we live as enemies, “we” are always the good guys, and “they” are the bad. “They” are a threat. Rarely does it occur to us to believe that “they” may have something to offer us beyond what we may be able to exploit. And so whoever has the biggest weapons, or the strongest penchant for cruelty takes what they want.

Fast forward to 2022.

Russia has invaded Ukraine. North Korea is testing more and more long-range missiles. Last year there were four successful military coups across Africa.

They are puffing out their chest in an attempt to raise their status, to improve their bargaining power in the fight for the resources of this planet.  

Now of course global politics are more complicated than this. But I’d be curious to hear of complications that contradict this very simple outline. Everything happens in the context of a larger whole. Or as Swedenborg would say, “Nothing unconnected ever occurs.” And everyone must live and act from within the context in which they find themselves.

For those of us who are citizens of powerful and exploitative countries–if we wish to live in a world where there exists some modicum of peace–we must acknowledge and repent the ways we have been the aggressor, the exploiter, the enslaver. We must acknowledge our sins, the power we have solidified with resources and land stolen through genocide and exponentially increased by an enslaved workforce.

Yes, this repentance may not be able to, quickly and directly, shift the course of Russia’s actions in Ukraine in this year 2022. (Although, who knows?) But if we wish to see this planet and its people survive beyond this year and this most immediate crisis of might….Then we are called to do the work, the big long work, of repentance, reformation, and regeneration. We have to look at how “we” are also “they,” if we are to have a chance.

Meet Rev. Sage Cole

Rev. Sage is the Pastor of the Swedenborg Chapel in Cambridge, Massachusetts.