Droplets in the Ocean
by Lori Heine
Those in any majority tend not to regard minorities as complete human beings. We want order, and safety, and prosperity, and peace just as much as anyone else. We are individuals, and we each need to be recognized as such. Instead, all too often, we are treated only as a vast, undifferentiated mass.
Those who think of people this way wish to control them. We are more easily controllable as a group than we are as individuals, each with our own desires and opinions and perspective and purpose. Individuals are messy, and a mass of us can be unwieldy.
But what sort of a world will we live in if the individual has no place? Ultimately the powers-that-be will find us easier to manage as one huge, single group. One tiny droplet in the ocean – one human person – will come to mean almost nothing. The few groups into which we are lumped may eventually be forced to meld together – into one gigantic lump – to have any voice at all considered worth hearing – or even capable of being heard. That, as a person, you or I might be Black, or Latino, or gay, or physically challenged, or intellectually gifted will come to mean nothing more than that the powerful need to protect us – which they will do, increasingly, by attempting to control our every thought, feeling and decision.
The honcho of British Petroleum who said that BP cared about “the small people” revealed more than he realized. True, he is Swedish, and does not speak English very well. But he touched off a firestorm because, however unwittingly, he spoke the truth. To powerful people like him – people who play with human lives as if we were pawns on a chessboard – we are “the small people.”
The oceans themselves are now under siege. Another BP hotshot dismissed the poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico by the oil spill as insignificant because there is – really – so much ocean left to pollute. They haven’t trashed it all yet, so what are we worried about? He seemed incapable of understanding that each droplet of that water – like each human life touched (and perhaps forever altered) by the tragedy – is irreplaceable and utterly priceless.
Each of us is of infinite value to God. People of faith must ceaselessly, tirelessly stand to remind the world that THERE ARE NO SMALL PEOPLE. There are only small minds and shriveled souls who find it inconvenient to acknowledge us. They try to shrink our minds and shrivel our souls by persuading us to care only about those who are most like us and telling us we may ignore everyone else. But this is not God’s way, because the God Who lovingly crafted each of us into an individual never tires of celebrating you – and me – and him – and her. We must keep alive that celebration by cherishing the diversity of people on every continent, as well as that of life in every ocean.
As LGBT Christians, we understand this almost instinctively. We might be on the verge of a new era, in which life on earth is celebrated as never before – or on the edge of an abyss into which those who lust for power and money will selfishly push us all. I believe that God has given us a unique ability to speak out about the choices now before us, and about how crucial it is that we make the right choice. The time to speak up, however, is definitely now. If we wait too long to use our voices, we may lose them.
© 2010 Lori Heine
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