"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, September 10, 2005

The Failure of a Generation

As James Moore recently put it (American Recessional), "We have what we asked for. And New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are the consequences of our choices." The Bush approach (or non-approach) to the welfare of the poor epitomizes the anti-Christian regression from the "preferrential option for the poor" to the current blind trust in the richest which has taken place over the past 30 years. The tremendous effort by some during the 60's and 70's to reach within and find a way of living beyond the consumerist matrix was too difficult for most of us to sustain. With one excusable and "insignificant" surrender after another, we slipped back into idolatry, until we were indistinguishable from the selves we once so vociferously rejected.

James Moore once again, "The water has washed away the scales from our eyes and now we have seen where our decisions have led us. Every vote we have ever cast for every charlatan selling tax cuts and less government has had an affect on lives in New Orleans." Indeed, much has been washed away and it is time for us to gaze steadily at what the generation of the 60's and 70's has become. The fads that caked like toxic mud on our consciences are all starting to dissolve and soon the core of our ideals will reveal its emptiness. For a thousand reasons that seemed incontrovertible at the time, we accepted mini- and then micro-substitutes for those original ideals. How many of our generation managed to convince themselves that the high-tech revolution of the 90's was the fulfillment of the ideals of the 60's?

James Moore: "The fault is ours; those of us who gave two terms to the PR president by casting our votes and believing we could get something for nothing...Our silent support and inattention to detail makes possible illigitimate wars and corrupt contracts." Like the PR president, we needed to live balanced lives, without reflecting on who would pay the price for that balance. The balance always came by feeding off the capital of past generations. That capital has worn thin and may soon wear out like the ozone layer that protects us from the radiation burns of our folly.

James Moore: "New Orleans is a symptom of something far greater than simply inadequate federal response. Our government, and all of the great institutions that have maintained our democracy, is dying. And we have let it. We have not listened for the truth." We always owed ourself more than to listen to the truth. Indeed we have enjoyed ourselves - we have lived the good life.

How is it that the generation that prided itself on its honesty and self-insight has become incapable of admitting error? Before you start to explain away what I have said as "guilt tripping", please explain to me what real guilt would look like.

"The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger and rich in compassion." Let us ask for forgiveness for the times when the false religion of wealth and power has entered our hearts and we accepted it gladly. And let us ask that George Bush repent of and be forgiven for his neglect of the poor and the defenseless and that in this forgiveness he may find the blessings which come from service to the poor in spirit.

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