The Death of Individualism

 

     I’m getting ready to plant another garden this year. I’ve started turning over the soil so all the leaves and compost can breakdown to add nutrients and texture to the soil. I bought some seeds—snap peas, green beans, okra, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and more. It’s a great time of year. When there’s no danger of frost, I’ll lay them to rest them in the earth.

 MustardSeed    Today, the seeds have a hard outer surface. It’s dry. It prevents the living seed that dwells within from bursting forth. That hard, outer covering separates the potential life within from the potential for producing fruits in the world.

     A hard outer covering is what makes a seed an individual seed. As an individual, it is unable to experience growth and produce good fruits. Only when the seed is buried, humbled, covered, and surrounded with the earth, will the verdant life within it stand a chance to be released.

     The hard covering must be softened and discarded before any life within it is going to germinate and grow.

     What is that hard covering that surrounds you and me that makes us think we are individuals, separate and different from everyone else? Pride? Ignorance? False information? Whatever it is, it prevents/blinds us from seeing ourselves as part of one body.

     If the Aramaic name for God (alaha) is true to its meaning, then God’s name is Unity or Oneness. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, the kingdom of Unity (God). God’s intent and desire for creation is for it to exist in Unity, in God.

     Clinging to individualism must die for all things to work together in unity. The barriers that prevent unity must be softened and discarded.

     No growth or life happens while the seeds sit in the paper packages on my shelf. Even if I place the seeds on top of the ground where all can see them for their individual natures, no growth will happen. There are too many external factors like sun, wind, and birds that will prevent them from germinating.

     It’s only when the seed is covered over with soil, earth, dirt—united with the dirt and moisture and warmth of the earth—that the hard covering can be softened, the individualism lost, and the life that waits within can be freed.

     When Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life, lose (destroy, perish) it, and those who hate (indifferent) their life in this world will keep (guard, preserve) it unto (through/by/in) eternal life”( John 12:24-26).

     In biblical days, eternal life was the quality of life God intended for you and I to experience. Eternal life happens in this life. It’s a life lived in unity, in shared communion, with the people and environment around us. For it’s only when we recognize our oneness that we will begin in compassion to blend our lives and possessions with each other.

     Until a person dies to those things that encapsulate her or him as an individual seed, separate instead of one with his or her neighbor, he or she will sit in a package on the shelf or on the top of the ground waiting to be pecked at by life. And the potential for eternal life will remain dormant or be destroyed.

     The death of individualism brings unity and life.

 

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One Response to The Death of Individualism

  1. John J Flanagan says:

    I understand your point, and that a collective effort and collaboration of work does bring about unity and efficiency. Surely, in my own experience as a US Marine in the sixties, we needed to deny our individuality in order to work as a group and survive in combat. It is also true that most things in life require cooperation and a collective group effort, from growing and producing food to running a university. A faithful Christian church needs the efforts of both ministry and congregation to prosper. But individuality is a peculiar American trait, which we elevate and celebrate, because we do need creative types and leaders who step outside of the group, think outside of the box, and make a positive difference. I believe God cultivates and inspires individuals for whom He has established a specific purpose and result, and we need not deny the historical and essential role of individuality.

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