"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, June 07, 2008

Touch the Truth of the World

The one absolute taboo even on the so-called 'Christian left' is to directly address the power relations that sustain regimes such as the one in Burma. Aung San Suu Ki said, "'What about all those who trade with the generals, who give them many millions of dollars that keep them going?' She was referring to the huge oil and gas companies, Total and Chevron, which effectively hand the regime $2.7bn a year, and the Halliburton company (former chief executive Vice-President Dick Cheney) that backed the construction of the Yadana pipeline, and the British travel companies that send tourists across bridges and roads built with forced labour." - John Pilger, "Cowardice of Silence" These are the real sources of the power of the Burmese regime.

A virus called the "war on terror" has weakened but not destroyed the power of the people to resist the the slow genocide of Chevron and the drug cartels. But Christians must ask themselves, "Where does the power of resistance come from?" It comes from the power of dreams, the power to believe in a world different than the one that confronts us here, the power to believe in independent moral values that sit in judgment on those who know no higher law than the exigencies of power.

A wise old Spanish anarchist once was confronted with the fact that his ideals were beautiful, but unrealizable, and he answered, "Of course it is impossible to realize them. But don't you see that everything this is possible today, is worthless?" Joel Kovel comments as follows, "Sensible people might see this as evidence of quixotism, but they would be wrong. For a radically spiritual attitude, though it may have no immediate possibility of realization, is, when turned outward, the most practical thing in the world. The reason we should fight for spirit is the here and now, because spirit creates a new sense of the possible, and the belief that possible is worth striving for. Thus the impossible must be imagined if it is to be realized, and it is true sanity to do so." - Joel Kovel, History and Spirit.

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