While at home, I do some part time handyman work to make ends meet. Today I was removing some wallpaper. And as I did, I mused a bit. There were three layers which needed to come off the wall: the outside paper, the paper backing, and the glue. As I worked, I saw this as a metaphor — for society. (Stay with me on this.) The wall I was working on was once a plain and simple wall, as our society once was plain and simple; and as the Amish, for instance, have chosen to continue to be. Then we started to layer the society with increasingly complex media entertainment systems, increasingly complex materialistic systems, increasingly complex technological systems… Each of these layers of systems, it would seem, has drawn us farther and farther away from: time with God, time with family, and time with community. Now, congruent to this metaphore, the print on the wall paper I was taking off today was rather ‘busy’ — as our society tends to be rather ‘busy’ with our almost frenetic participation (compulsive TV watching, driving everywhere, buying everything…) in the systems. So, some options: We can just slap on some more wall paper, with a somewhat less busy print (a bit less cable options, a bit less driving, a bit less shopping…); or, we can roll up our sleeves and go at intensively stripping the wall paper, the backing, and the glue off, getting to the bare wall (barest of (or no) TV watching, the barest (or no) driving, the barest of shopping, etc…) And once at the bare wall, we can either: start the whole layered wall papering process (addictive/compuslive behavior) up again; or — we could simply paint the wall white, or one of some other basic flat color. That’s what the College of Mary in Bismark, North Dakota did. On a campaign trip to North Dakota several years ago, we noticed all the walls, of all the college buildings at this particular school, were painted in a flat, and rather drab looking, sandstone color. We were told that was done by design, because: “It’s the people here who provide the color.” And wouldn’t it make more sense, spiritual sense, that people (family, community — and God, too) provide most of the “color” in our lives — not predominately the components of these inanimate systems? Note: I’m doing more handyman work tomorrow. Stay tuned.