Boxes, Boxes, and More Boxes
Do you remember this song below, “Little Boxes”. I must say although I know it, it is before my time! What I have printed below are the lyrics to the refrain.
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes all the same
There’s a pink one and a green one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same
When I read the words to the verses, I realize this is a lament of mass production and capitalism that has run rampant in our culture. The mass production of “Things”, includes not only stuff and our homes but our lives as well.
This lament captures the failure of people to do their own thing. This lament announces that many of us follow the crowd, and we all look just the same…
I just finished listening to the Bible for Normal People podcast in which Peter Enns interviews Father Richard Rohr. In this interview Rohr suggests that changes and transitions in our lives occur in 3 boxes.
We begin with the box of “Order”. Things are established, have boundaries, tend to be black and white, simple and fixed.
Next the box of “DisOrder”. When I start to question my “Order” of things, things that I was brought up to believe. It is the box of “don’t, no and I can’t believe that any longer”. It’s a rejection of certain beliefs you lived with comfortably for a while but can no longer accept.
Finally the box of “Reorder”. This box creates a new reality, a fuller picture that allows for dualism (dualism is a word people are using today to express “Yin Yang”. Within good there is evil, within evil there is good. Dualism says the world is gray not black and white, not either or, dualism is both/and. Non-dualistic thinking, such as everything is black and white, or right and wrong, is a product of the “Order” box. ReOrder is the box where everything belongs. It’s all part of the whole. It’s all part of life.
Fear can keep us in the Order box. Anger can keep us in the DisOrder box. The key is to keep moving, to work through our experiences and come to a new and fuller picture of reality.
These boxes occur in all parts of our lives. From the development of our personal viewpoints to our religious beliefs.
Religious beliefs is where it can get sticky. When you make beliefs the center to your faith, we sometimes feel that we are letting God down because we can no longer accept the beliefs in the “Order” box. We can feel that we are not being faithful. At its worst, we can fear Hell because we are challenging our “Order box Beliefs” that we have lived with since childhood. Living without fear is a great place to be, as the writer of 1 John states,
1 John 4:18 (NRSV)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.
Ultimately we believe in a God of Grace. If I get my beliefs “wrong”, remember there is …Grace. The questions I challenge you to think about are:
Does your faith help you love God, your enemies, your family, yourself, God’s creation? Are you improving at your “loving”?
Does your faith work for you in times of trouble?
Does your faith give you “Peace like a River” regardless of what is happening around you?
Does your faith make sense to you? I often say I can’t get my heart to accept anything my mind rejects. Faith can be understandable and does not need to be unbelievable.
Movement through the boxes of faith, from order to reorder, is vital to our maturity in faith. With critical thinking, scripture, a faith tradition, inquiry, and a quest for a healthy relationship with God, we can grow in Faith. Growing in Faith implies that we grow at loving as well.
This is the journey of faith we are all on. Helping Jesus bring the Kingdom here! Each in our unique, individual ways.
What faith Box are you living in?