Monday, February 21, 2011

Six Degrees of Separation

Good morning God,
I enjoyed playing six degrees of separation in yesterday's worship. Trying to make the links between the youngest member of our congregation and the queen was easy, as was finding a route to the Pope..
What was more provocative was making the link between any one of us and Ossoma Bin Laden, or the Yorkshire Ripper, or Doctor Shipman.. Realising how closely connected we all are to our worst 'enemies' put a whole new slant on the meaning of the lectionary lesson to Love our Enemies..
I do know that there are some that dispute the theory of six degrees of separation, but the problem is that the Church is so global and 'connected' that it's seldom a problem to achieve the desired goal in 6 or less relationships.

But it also started me thinking again about the difference between independence and interdependence. I am increasingly convinced that independence is the biggest 'sin' that there is. It is contrary to our nature and to our nurture. It distorts relationships (how can you possibly have a two way relationship with someone who is independent !) and leads to an unrealistic idea of self-worth and self-importance which can be soul destroying in so many ways.

If I am honest, I would have to admit that I loathe the very idea of being only six or less contacts away from our Prime Minister David Cameron at the moment.. until, that is, I began thinking about how that connectivity could be used to effect change in the areas that trouble me most - namely the unashamed recreation of the worst of the British Class system with its inherent injustice and base immorality.

There is something more powerful than politics about the fact that we are all interdependent - as we can see by the role that micro-blogging is playing in the protests and demands for democratic reform throughout the middle-east. People naturally feel stronger when they are aware of the fact that they are not alone... Humanity is changed when it acts as one. People change when they feel connected. Love flows easier, poverty really can be bested and fear defeated - by a genuine knowledge of our interdependence, of how we belong, one to another.

The fact is that WE are far more powerful and transformational  than I can ever be.
And it is this of course. that makes the doctrine of the Trinity so powerful. It takes the I am and transforms it into an interdependence of grace from which flows our human sense of belonging and interdependence. I can still be all that I am, without needing to see myself in opposition to all that I am not. I can work with, not against, the forces that shape and form me, the contacts who help to define me and the relationships which nurture and develop me.

Interdependence does not strip us of anything - it does not take anything away from our uniqueness or gifts or graces - but it does add to who we are. It humbles us to learn we are connected to the worst in humanity as well as the best in society. That we are probably as closely linked to the people we despise the most, as we are to the people we admire the most. It helps keep a sense of perspective about who and what we are. I am connected to people who are immensely talented, and to people who see no value in their lives at all. I am linked to royalty and poverty alike, to Muslims, Hindus and Christians and to those of no faith.. I stand with those in Cairo, Libya and Bahrain because I am a part of humanity, not separate from it.

Whether I like it or not, I am linked to each and every member of the British government too.

So the challenge is now on to find a way to use that link to help shape and form JUST rather than unjust policies.



1 comment:

  1. Not difficult to make the link to Harold Shipman - I conducted the funeral services of both his sister-in-law and mother-in-law.