An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Confess and Be Free
As Christians, we must embrace freedom, not freedom as this world understands the term, freedom to indulge our worst impulses, but freedom from the shadows that live inside us. In support of this, I suggest a three part program to free us from our inertia and complicity in the murder and torture of those our government labels "enemy combatants." Perhaps this time, we Christians can acknowledge our guilt while the crime is being committed rather than carrying out a safe and meaningless reconciliation years after the actual deeds were done.
1) Truth is the first act of freedom. We must confess that by our silence we have allowed our government to carry out viciously anti-human and anti-Christian policies toward the peoples of the Middle East virtually without challenge.
2) We must feel a deep contrition for the sin of our government and resolve to do whatever is in our power to right the evil which has been carried out in our name. But this attritio cordis must go far beyond feelings of anger and righteousness, and lead to the "work of grief", the determined rooting out of all the temptations and compulsions which led to the current state of crime. All the love of indulgence which this culture makes mandatory and has led directly to this mad attempt to appropriate resources to sustain this indulgence must be renounced. In other words, the Gospel calls us to a change of heart, not merely a momentary spasm of shame. This should be accompanied by a thorough examination of the current ideologies that dominate our culture in the light of the Gospel so that we can clearly discern their anti-Christian character.
3) We must follow with satisfaction through good works, not simply good words. We must not be satisfied with the traditional means of protest, but must seek for ever more creative and Christian ways to express our rejection of this world of violence. Reduction of consumption is a first and obvious "sign of expiation", as well as being a direct blow against the system of sinful domination. We should expect to suffer for these acts of resistance. Indeed, we can expect more suffering than the violent rebels because such resistance is more deeply threatening to the powers that be.
Please let me hear your ideas about how we might carry out this resistance in the spirit of Christ and if you would like to add to the program here suggested.