Why do conspiracies always have to be darkly subversive or negative? One origin of the term “conspire” is “to breathe with,” or “to breathe together.” What if we were to form a positive, enduring conspiracy for the common good? What might we conspire together to create or achieve?
I am in awe of my daughter-in-law, Hannah. She is a gifted artist, creative in everything she does. She is artistic for beauty’s sake, creating glorious works for a variety of purposes and causes. But she is not merely a producer of art, she is artistic to the core of her being. Everything she cooks and bakes is a work of art. She baked the wedding cake for our other son and daughter-in-law, and some in attendance mistakenly thought it came from a artisanal bakery because it was so beautiful and perfect. She gardens, and some wrongly accuse her of manipulating the pictures of her garden and produce with photoshop, they are so amazing and exquisite. And she and our son Greg have produced the most perfect artistic creation yet, our granddaughter, Evie.
What sets Hannah apart, in my mind, is that she cares deeply about the beautiful, the good, and the true, embodying the core tenets of the Bhagavad Gita and teachings of Plato and other philosophers of the antiquities, as well as many early Christians. She strives for a quality of life, working to establish balance, poise, connection to the soil, and meaningful relationships. I am deeply impressed by the many ways she enters life fully and completely, reveling in both the blessing and the hard work that life offers and demands. I am not envious or jealous of this model, but I do believe it is much healthier and dynamic than my own. I seem to find a thousand and one reasons not to work outside, eat healthy, exercise, or create beauty. I find in Hannah a simple example that inspires me to be better and do better.
So, here is where the conspiracy comes in. What if we were to launch a QOL (Quality of Life) conspiracy; an energetic and total commitment to quality of life for all people in all places at all times? We could hold as our guiding value and standard treating of God’s creation (including people) with the highest quality of care, respect, honor, protection, and love. What might change were we to make the commitment to do and give our best in every situation? What might result were we to strive to outdo one another in love, affection, kindness, and generosity? What if we eliminated all of the distractions and demands that selfishness, greed, insecurity, and prejudice produce in us individually and collectively? This isn’t a new thought. God as creator, God as child, had it first, and God as imminent and integrated Spirit attempts to promote it all the time.
I am writing from the perspective of a Christian pastor, but this is not purely a Christian thing I am talking about. This is a human thing, but I wonder if Christians couldn’t get their act together to lead such a conspiracy due to the fact that we have an actual instruction manual that calls us to such a quality of life already. The challenge here is that we would actually have to put the concepts into practice. We would have to up our game significantly. We would need to stop doing all the things Jesus, Paul, and other Christian writers tell us to stop doing, while at the same time starting to do a lot of the good things they teach a whole lot better.
The “-spire” in words like conspire, inspire, perspire, expire, aspire, respiration, inspiration, comes from roots that mean both “breath” and “Spirit.” If the Spirit breath – the ruach, the pneuma – could truly in-spire our con-spiring, we could enter into the miraculous transforming work of God in the world. Think how great it would be to redeem the whole concept of conspiracy to mean something good and beautiful and true! But this will only happen if we begin with a commitment to quality – quality of life, quality of relationships, quality of caring and respect. It will only happen in the church if we set aside the petty and destructive beliefs and behaviors that limit us and hold us stuck in judgmentalism and condemnation. It demands that we learn to revel and glory in God’s creation.
My daughter-in-law may be one-in-a-million, but she is real flesh and blood proof that it can be done. We can look for, work for, and create beauty, truth, and goodness, for ourselves, for our children, and for future generations.