On a Sunday Like Today

“I am convinced that many, if not most, modern neuroses are a direct result of the lack of a common, shared story under which our individual stories are written. As a result, our tiny lives lack a transcendent referent, a larger significance, a universal meaning. Our common life is a “dis-aster,” literally disconnected from the cosmic “stars.” We are lost in insignificance.” – Richard Rohr

I wrote some days back about the rise of nationalism, and the difference between nationalism and patriotism. (Here.) I wrote,

… when people lose meaning in their personal lives, they may seek to find meaning in their national/political identity. In other words, when their personal identities are devastated due to unemployment and economic hardship, prejudice, insult and injury, or other real or perceived suffering, they may seek meaning and significance in a national (or racial, ethnic, or partisan) identity.

What Richard Rohr aptly describes above – the lack of a “shared story” or “transcendent referent” – is the vacuum into which nationalism and its twin sisters, racial superiority and religious superiority, rush in to fill.


If we don’t have a big enough, deep enough, high enough, wide enough story, our little individual lives feel “lost in insignificance,” and so we reach to some racial, political, or even religious narrative to give us meaning. The results are often deadly, as the gods of race, politics, and religion are happy to order their adherents to kill for their false petty glory.

That’s why on a Sunday like today, I hope people will (to borrow Richard’s metaphor) reach for the stars … seeking a story that is truly transcendent: not the story of any nationalist, racial, political, or even religious supremacist construct … but the story of the maker of the stars, the creator of the universe, the shared story that encompasses every creature in every square meter of the cosmos.

That is the larger story I believe Jesus came to tell, the story of a kingdom (the largest and most all-encompassing reality) that can transcend, include, and redeem all human kingdoms.