We want to solve everything don’t we? How do we fix the economy? Which candidate will be better? How do we cure cancer? Or obesity? Or poverty? What about violence in the Middle East?
It is, of course, natural to be solutions oriented. When there is a problem, we try to fix it. If someone is crying, we want to help them stop and then fix their broken heart. And yet we’ve all heard or known someone to say, “I don’t need you to fix my problem, I just want you to listen.”
As Church, we must be cautious of the fix-it mentality. No doubt, there is a call to fix things in church and world at times and Christians should play a part when needed. But we are not called as Christians to be fixers first. Jesus didn’t say say, “Go therefore into all the world and fix it.” So what are we called to do?
One of my Catholic heroes is the philosopher Jean Vanier. Vanier is mostly known for founding L’Arche, a coalition of communities throughout the world for people with developmental disabilities and the men and women who live and work with them. To understand the philosophy behind L’Arche, Vanier describes it this way: “Look, there are two realities, two cultures. There is a culture of power and there is a culture of relationships. The men and women I live with see that it is good to be together and we don’t have to solve all the problems of the world when we are together. They teach me to lighten up.”
Indeed, the point of L’Arche is to be taught by those who value relationship over power. Power is deemed of greater value in the world and we often spend too much time adoring it and those who have it. The community of L’Arche is a witness to a different way of being, a gospel way of being.
If we believe that our role as Christians in the world is to fix everything, we can become tempted to power over relationship. Jesus did not come in power, but in weakness. And he came to be in relationship with us, which is the witness we offer to the world.