"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.
Monday, October 16, 2006
"We can murder hundreds of thousands, or even millions, and we remain forever pure."
What does our purity as Christians consist of? As much as lies within us, we do not deliberately sin. We love God more than we love our pleasure, our power, our righteousness. Because of our love, we seek into our inner motives to see if what lies there is as pure as it pretends to be. We do this because part of loving God is loving truth. So what is our response when we hear that our country has caused the death of 655,000 people?
Is it the response of Isaiah? "'Do you indeed speak righteousness, O you judges, do you judge the children of our people fairly?' It is an evil time when the world lets injustice happen silently, when the oppression of the poor and the wretched cries out to heaven in a loud voice and the judges and rulers of the earth keep silent about it, when the persecuted church calls to God for help in the hour of dire distress and exhorts people to do justice, and yet no mouth on earth is opened to bring justice. Do you indeed speak righteousness, O humankind on whom injustice is perpetuated? Must that always be forgotten in such times? Do you hear? Children of humankind who are creatures of God like you, who feel pain and misery like you, you who do violence to them; who have their happiness and hopes like you; who feel their honor and their shame like you; your brothers and sisters! Are you mute? Oh, no, they are not mute, their voice is heard on earth. But it is an unmerciful, a partisan word they speak. It judges not by what is right, but by a person's standing." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "Vengence and Deliverance"
Do you hear the voice of Maher Arar? Is he not the voice of the "least of these"? "He said 'life in the cell was impossible' and that he contemplated suicide as soon as he realized he was in Syria. The beatings were so painful, he said, that 'I forgot every moment I enjoyed in my life.'" This is the voice of one whom our silence condemned to a filthy grave for a year while this innocent man was tortured for our sins and for our "security".
When will we hear the voice of love? "God charms and captivates our ears with the Word of grace. God attracts us with the sweet words of love. God persuades us and subdues our hears so that we are compelled to listen to God as if spellbound and be obedient to God." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer. But when we seek revenge, no matter how justified, we become deaf to the words of grace, and mute to the righteousness of God.
"But whoever leaves revenge in God's hands alone has become willing to suffer and bear it patiently - without vengeance, without a tought of one's own revenge, without hate and without protest; such persons are meek, peaceable, and love their enemies. God's cause has become more important to them than their own suffering. God will win the victory in the end." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer.