Why stay alive in 2023

Artwork of someone staring into a landscape scene through a door. CREDIT: JORM SANGSORN
Live a significant and good life. That is the reason we have been created to live in 2023.

All through the Jewish-Christian Scriptures we find families. Many, maybe most, display a high level of dysfunctionality. For example, the story of Joseph and his family of origin: He is the favourite of his father. The other siblings, not well formed themselves, feed their bitterness about this and eventually get rid of Joseph, stopping just short of killing him.

In spite of all the family feuding, however, the family members in these stories do their best to figure out who they should marry. Not only that, they assume it to be a privilege to raise their own children as faith filled persons who understand that it is their creator God who requires them to live morally. Their children, they believe, have an important role to play in the unfolding of the history of their clans and nation, and in fact, the world.

This emphasis on family is not to the exclusion of singleness or people who are part of sexual or gender minorities. Jesus himself was single. He did not hesitate to include in his circle women who were considered to have lived improperly. And there is one significant (to my mind) incident of an “Ethiopian eunuch” enthusiastically embracing the faith and being welcomed. He would have been part of cohort of persons who belonged to a well defined sexual-gender minority.

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Clearly related to this calling to create families, the biblical narrative presents God as the source of our impulse to build. Here is what I mean. On the first page of the Bible, Jewish and Christian, God pronounces a vast and open-ended blessing on the human race (Genesis 1: 26-30). He summons us to at least three things. First, to enjoy the abundance of the created world. It is his gift to us. Second, to “multiply” and have families. And third to “fill the earth,” opening the way to the building of villages, cities, roads, universities, construction companies and community colleges. The arts are included here including the development of stories, histories, music, theatre, and more. Several of these emerge quickly, just a few pages into the biblical narrative.

This means that none of us is called to live an insignificant or irresponsible life. We are created for significance. This year. This is founded not in subjective, and somewhat weakly-grounded ideology. Nor is it founded in patterns of behaviour identified by anthropologists and psychologists, among others. It is grounded in the “logos”, the Word, the life-formative, brilliant declaration of God, this vast and open-ended blessing.

So, I would say, to the best of your ability in 2023, enjoy the call of God to participate in this double mission. This is the mission, first, to find who to marry so you can create and raise the next generation of young people. Someone once said something like this: “Who knows? Your child (or nephew or niece) may make an important medical breakthrough, may organize a food bank, may negotiate peace with a hostile dictator, may help resolve the climate crisis, may walk with you in the final weeks of your own life, may install heating systems in homes, may educate young people.”

Second, try to figure out what tasks you yourself are called to do, what you are responsible for. This might or might not include becoming married and becoming a parent, although that is an incredibly important, fulfilling calling, the “default” for most people. It might include taking on a work that people will remember you for long after you have passed from this life. If you are reading this, it probably means getting the most useful education you can this year and making a kind of vow to yourself to avoid careless behaviour when you are at leisure. Live a significant and good life. That is the reason we have been created to live in 2023.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.