Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It Is what It Is

Recently, I encountered a salesperson who repeatedly said, “It is what it is.” I guess that it’s not all that strange of a thing for someone to say, but he always prefaced it with, “as my mother always told me.” That part seemed strange to me. What mother says that to her child? Well, apart from Doris Day’s mother, who said something like that? Doris Day asked her mother a bunch of questions about her future (“Will I be pretty, will I be rich”) and her mother said, (“Here's what she said to me.”) “Que sera sera / Whatever will be, will be / The future's not ours, to see / Que Sera, Sera.” (By Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.)

Except for the tense (one is present tense and the other future), I don’t see much difference. And if I argued that my salesperson or Doris Day’s mother were wrong, I would lose. It is what it is, and whatever will be, will be. But, I don’t, for the life of me, believe it. These statements are way to fatalistic for me. I do not believe that things cannot be changed or that the future is inevitable. In fact, I would argue that fatalism is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God has blessed us with memory, reason and skill for the purposes of prayer, love and justice. All of these things have the power to change how things are and how things will turn out to be.

If we do nothing – the Church will disappear. If we simply invite another person to come to Church with us we change the future of the Church and the current circumstances of that person we’ve invited. Nothing could be simpler.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

I wonder if a sense of fatalism is strong in the church, perhaps it is connected to the reasons people attend. If the reason is expressed, "because that is what I(we, my family) do" then there is no sense of personal responsibility. If the reason is more active, "to become a better person, closer to God, make the world a better place, etc.", then there is an active sense of personal responsibility.