Opening for Mystery

The free market consumer ideology promises a world of predictability and safety. It is repulsed by surprise and believes that all things are eventually knowable. It believes in the limitless possibility of development and growth. You must strive for perfection, “failure is not an option.” This applies to individuals, enterprises, and countries. Individuals are always a work in progress, enterprises grow or die, poor countries need to be developed by rich countries… Human suffering is solvable by better and more services. Planetary risks will be solved by technology…[1]

Mystery, [however], is not a problem to be solved. Mystery is an opening to the unknown… Acceptance of mystery opens the door to a set of communal disciplines such as time, food, silence, and re-performance. These disciplines lead us on a path that begins and ends in mystery. Believing in mystery is the initial act of departure, the doorway to an alternative future. It’s an opening to creativity and imagination. It opens the door to a neighborhood or community organized by covenant.[2]

In a life of perfection, we always need someone or something to blame for our imperfections. Alternatively, mystery – the suspension of solutions – becomes an opening into community and covenant. When we appreciate mystery we can opt for a slow meal, leave silent spaces free of talk, and take actions of generosity that don’t add up in the world of easy-answers, speed, and development.

What is a way you can perform mystery this week? Is there a meal you could host or attend that would slow you and others down from the rat race? Is there space you could make to sit with another to listen, without the need to explain or rescue? Is there space to paint, write, sing, or dance where the immediate outcome is not quantifiable. Where can you slow down and make space for something you hadn’t anticipated to emerge?


[1]  Block, Peter. An Other Kingdom: Departing the Consumer Culture (p. 3). Wiley. Kindle Edition.

[2]  ibid p. 10


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