We might think that Order is a healthy way to believe and live. I am a Virgo and I love organization, order and structure. A messy room, laundry, tool box, mail, and God forbid life makes me feel unkept, disorganized and just plain nuts.
That said, I have realized that to continue growing, we must go through a period—or even many periods—of Disorder. If you have ever participated in organizations that thrive on order, then you know the suffering of disorder and the trauma it can cause. Walk into a church pew that was “your” pew and find a visitor sitting in “your” spot and you will feel disorder.
Transformation involves at least some measure of suffering. Part of us has to die if we are ever to grow larger (John 12:24). If we’re not willing to let go of our smaller selves, our norms, beliefs, and preferences, and yes seating in life, we won’t be able to enter the more expansive and inclusive space of Reorder.
The invitation from Jesus to move from one stage to another seems quite clear in his frequent invitation… to turn around or change our minds. I remember having problems with that myself. I thought, “Why should I turn around? I’m baptized, confirmed, ordained with a doctoral degree! I’m right and positioned!” How foolish and yet how typical of someone in love with Order and its process. That’s precisely the stubbornness Jesus is talking about.
I like what Richard Rohr says when he writes: Almost inevitably, our ideally ordered universe will eventually disappoint us, at least if we are honest. At some point in our lives, we will be deeply disappointed by what we were originally taught, by where our choices have led us, or by the seemingly random tragedies that take place in all our lives. There will be a death, a disease, a disruption to our normal way of thinking or being in the world. It is necessary if any real growth is to occur.
Some of us find this stage so uncomfortable we bury our heads in the sand and avoid participating in any change. Others today seem to have given up and decided that “there is no universal order,” at least no order we will submit to. That’s a stance, which distrusts all grand ideologies, including any notions of reason, a common human decency, social progress, universal human norms, absolute truth, or objective reality. Much of the chaos that reigns in world culture and populist governments these days is the direct result of such a “post-truth society” and incidentally why lying is so pervasive in our society right now.
Disorder is rather tragic and traumatic. It tends to make people negative, cynical, and usually angry – all of which stem from the granddaddy of them all – FEAR. Searching for some solid ground, we can easily become quite opinionated and dogmatic about one form of political correctness or another. Clearly many are worshiping disorder itself as though it were a dogma.
I can see why the Christian movement adopted the language of being “born again.” The great traditions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism seem to say the first birth is not enough. We not only have to be born, but remade. The remaking of the soul and seeing the log in our own eyes has to be done again and again.