The Nine R’s of November: Ruckus


Ruckus. This is one of the nine R’s that the minister at the church where I sing used a while ago for his Good Religion series. It is one of the few that overlap (so far). Although, last week he used the world Risk and I thought: Damn It! Why didn’t I think of that? Risk is a great R world and I totally missed it.

But I digress.

When I think of the word ruckus I always think of that scene from Underworld where Bill Nighy’s vampire character gets awoken early and says, “What’s all this ruckus?” in his really fantastic Bill Nighy vampire voice. Isn’t that what everyone thinks of? No? Only me?

This is one of the things that Rev. Pentland had to say:

“If you haven’t created a ruckus in your life you’re in deep trouble because good religion – or good living (and his arms swept the word religion away) invites us to pay attention and create ruckus.”

I think the key words there are: pay attention.

And to be honest, I’m not sure I have really created a ruckus in my life, you know? I’m a peacemaker and I definitely shy away from conflict (Mister thinks this is proof that I am more Ravenclaw than Gryffindor – I live too much in my head).

And I like quiet. Oh, how I like my quiet.

Rev. Pentland also said that ruckus is: “Something that disturbs us to action. Moves us from not escaping the world but engaging the world.”  I think this could be expanded into: engaging with each other.

Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

I really didn’t want to pull the recent election into this article but how can I not? I think so many of us are scared to do anything these days – too scared to speak up for what we believe because we aren’t allowed to talk about it anymore. The western world is getting very politically correct these days and I think that is part of why Trump was elected (also, economics). Not because 50% of the U.S. are racists and misogynistic jerks – the answer is not that simple. It never is. It seems as though people weren’t allowed to talk about why they didn’t like Hillary Clinton and they weren’t allowed to talk about why they voted for Trump. I heard a story today about children who haven’t spoken to their very elderly parents in almost a year because they were on opposing sides of the Brexit vote. How sad is that? How is that going to help the world move forward if we can’t talk about our beliefs no matter what they are? My peacemaker heart gets all scared and panicky because I want everyone to get along.

I think creating a ruckus these days means actually listening to other people. I heard another quote recently that sums up so much:

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

(That sums up both U.S. Presidential candidates if you ask me.)

(And if you are wondering, I would have been with Her but only because I could never be with Him. But I’m trying very hard to understand both sides.)

This goes back to what I was saying about there being too much noise out there. Everyone is talking but no one is listening and it is going to get worse before it gets better. Ruckus does not mean making as much noise as possible (unless you are a child because their volume is always turned up to eleven – but that is more like making a joyful noise).

I think creating a ruckus could be raising children who listen to others. Who aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves and other people but who also LISTEN before jumping to conclusions. But how are they going to learn this skill if it is so lacking elsewhere?


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