by Troy Chapman
The older I get the more I am giving up on the idea that the world is supposed to be perfect. I’m reaching the shocking conclusion that there’s an Intelligence in the world that is wiser than me about the way the world ought to be, and that this Intelligence has built imperfection into things.
So why do I still think that we’d be better off if problems, inconveniences, flaws, and even ignorance in myself and in the world were somehow eradicated? Isn’t that just another way of saying, “The world ought to revolve around me?” Because that’s the real meaning of a perfect world — one that revolves around me.
The first question that comes up when we talk about celebrating imperfection is the question of evil. Should we celebrate children blown up in wars or starved to death in political or ideological struggles? These are, after all, “imperfections” aren’t they? Obviously, I’m not talking about celebrating these things. It seems to me that these kind of things are most often caused by a refusal to accept imperfections. The same thing happens on the personal level when we try to deny or cover up our own shadow. The most intolerant people in the world are those who think they have no flaws. Indeed, rejection of imperfections in ourselves and others is the very doorway to evil.
So no, celebrating imperfection doesn’t mean we ought to celebrate or even accept evil. In fact, it means the exact opposite and is probably the single most powerful thing we can do in the world to reduce evil.
When we get to heaven God won’t ask how perfect we were or how valiantly we stood up for perfection on earth. He’ll ask how much we loved the people and the world behind the imperfections.
So let’s take some time to honor imperfection as the teacher it is. I’ll do this by giving thanks for every imperfection I encounter in myself and in the world this month. I’ll write some more during March about the role imperfection plays in our spiritual lives, examine some of our attitudes about it, and ultimately celebrate it.