1.24.2007

Why Riding Transit is Spiritually Good for You

I've had a spirited email conversation with a good friend of mine
concerning the Christian interest in issues of inequity. In other
words, why do we who follow Jesus care if there is inequity in the
world?

We tentatively agreed that a really important reason, if not the most
important, was this notion that we are interconnected, locally and
globally. God grieves inequity and we should too because we're all in
this together. God rages against inequity and we should too because
it represents a faction saying to another faction that we want nothing
to do with you.

I'm personally kind of sour on other reasons for caring about inequity, such as:

* "Because God says so" - Well, He says so because we're interconnected.

* "You should feel guilty about having so much money in the midst of
such abject poverty." - This line of reasoning only makes sense to me
if I believe I who am rich am interconnected to others who are poor.

* "It makes you feel good to help someone in need." - Whoo boy, this
very easily becomes uncomfortably self-centered, imperialistic, and
downright insulting.

So what does this have to do with transit? When you drive a car, you
get into your hermetically sealed vehicle, set the temperature and
music to your preference, and go about your merry way, isolated from
others near you, until you arrive at your destination.

In contrast, when you ride transit, you join with others in a shared
experience. The transit system is an asset that is used collectively
by the public. You literally and figuratively rub shoulers. You
might overhear a sob story or a funny story. You might even strike up
a conversation.

In short, you're reconnecting with the notion of being connected.
Your trip from Point A to Point B becomes one continuous experience of
life in an interconnected world, rather than an opportunity to tune
out from that world and enjoy your climate-controlled, music-filled
vehicle bubble.

The next time you're not in touch with God's feelings about inequity,
hop on a bus or a trolley or a train. You'll connect with your fellow
man, and that connectedness will connect you more deeply into God's
reasons for caring about inequity.

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