of shrinking tents

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide,

do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.

Isaiah 54:2

Around the world, tents are shrinking.

Brexit actually happened. The voices of isolationism and nationalism won out over open borders and a spirit of union with other countries.

In America, the rallying cry of “Make America Great Again” has morphed into an all out assault on democracy and the rule of law. Corruption, lies and disregard for basic tenets of justice have been trampled underground in the defence of an increasingly unstable, narcissistic and dangerous president and his minions.

The tent shrinking is happening among liberals too, where moderate voices are excluded within an increasingly narrow agenda, with no room for debate. The most glaring example of this is the abortion issue. Is there room for pro-life Democrats in America? Or, pro-life Liberals in Canada? Where are moderates, those who see the greyness of the in-between on many moral issues, to go?

Within the church, extreme factions attack each other as the real enemies of the church. For some, a “smaller, purer” church is preferable to one that includes those who think, believe or worship differently from them. A universal, catholic church, united in diversity and open to all? No thank you, they say.

Shrinking tents reflect shrinking hearts. Barricading ourselves in fortresses of sameness is like living in a room full of mirrors instead of windows. A room surrounded by walls without a door in sight.

A home without a threshold beckoning us to go out into the world, or to welcome others in.

2 thoughts on “of shrinking tents

  1. On the one hand, this “shrinking of tents” is alarming. On the other hand it seems to me that you are drawing way too much into one basket. I think that in a democracy it’s important to have vigorous debate. There are many principles that are worth taking a stand for. Middle positions are not always the answer. In the US< things like Social Security and Medicare did not happen because the opposition happily agreed. President Obama did his best to work with Republicans and gave in on many important aspects of the Affordable Care Act, but still got no buy-in from the Republicans. Hoping to appease Republicans on the issue of immigration, Obama ended up deporting more people than his predecessor. All, to no avail.
    I'm not saying that compromise is bad in principle, but one must know hoe and when to compromise.

  2. Hi Alexandra,

    When I speak of “enlarging our tents”, I mean working together for greater goals instead of splintering off into smaller and smaller groups of commonality. I also do not mean watering down our convictions or giving in to the “other side” with niceties or damaging compromise. Frankly, the left needs to get tougher. And, the media needs to stop the dishonest “two-side-isms” in an effort to appear neutral…and we must too. Lies must be called out and denounced. I hope this clarifies my position.

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