Sunday, October 21, 2012

We Have Much to Learn

This morning I am finishing up the reading of a book, by Desmond Tutu. I am reminded, this morning, that as a nation we have much to learn from our own history and from the history of other nations. You see, we are not so different from our South African neighbors. We are not so different from Nazi Germany. Not even Iran, Afghanistan, or any other nation that Americans have somehow labeled as "racist," "inhumane," or as "terrorists." It pains me to see propaganda distributed about our current President. Not because of who he actually is, but because of this idea that a certain group will "lose" their political prowess and control over the rest of American society. I am sick that as American citizens we cannot display who we want to vote for or work in that candidate's campaign office without being harassed, shot at, or told that we are "sinners." It pains me even more that this harassment and this hate is coming from the guise of "Christianity" and the "Church." You see, we have much to learn from South Africa if we would only listen.
Everything was subordinated to the security of the state as determined by those in power. It made white South Africans feel that there was a bad world out there, eager to get them, to destroy their "South African way of life." This hostile world wanted to overthrow a Christian government and replace it with an ungodly, atheistic, undemocratic, Communist dictatorship. The apartheid government as propaganda machine was adept at pointing out the disasters that had befallen countries to the north of us in Africa that had adopted socialism - basically they had come to a sticky end because these unreliable, feckless blacks had taken over.
Desmond goes on to say, though, that there is hope. South Africa managed to take that path. I hope that America takes a good, honest look at the values that the founder of its main religion actually stood for, and not the hate, discrimination, and dehumanization that some of its members seem to want to use to rule this country. I hope that Americans choose to take the path of hope and true change (even though it is more difficult) that their fellow South Africans have chosen.
None but the most obtuse can doubt that we are experiencing a radical brokenness in all of existence. Times are out of joint. Alienation and disharmony, conflict and turmoil, enmity and hatred characterize so much of life.
Now and again we catch a glimpse of the better thing for which we are meant - when for a little while we are bound together by bonds of a caring humanity, a universal sense of ubuntu. Then we experience fleetingly that we are made for togetherness, for friendship, for community, for family, that we are created to live in a delicate network of interdependence. There is a movement, not easily discernible, at the heart of things to reverse the awful centrifugal force of alienation, brokenness, division, hostility, and disharmony. God has set in motion a centripetal process, a moving towards the center, toward unity, harmony, goodness, peace, and justice, a process that removes barriers. Jesus says "And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw everyone to myself" as he hangs from His cross with outflung arms, thrown out to clasp all, everyone and everything, in a cosmic embrace, so that all, everyone, everything, belongs. No one is an outsider, all are insiders, all belong. There are no aliens, all belong in the one family, God's family, the human family. There is no longer Jew, Greek, male or female, slave or free - instead of separation and division, all distinctions make for a rich diversity to be celebrated for the sake of the unity that underlies them. We are different so that we can know our need of one another, for no one is ultimately self-sufficient. The completely self-sufficient person would be subhuman.
*Excerpts taken from No Future Without Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Lyrical Response to America's GOP

I've been listening to this song (off and on) since I was a young eleven-year old. It has such a strong message, and it's so fitting, given this year's political landscape. I try not to judge as the lyrics of this song reiterate. But I feel strongly that there is so much at stake for so many of America's people if a certain party gets elected to the White House. So, because this song sums it up beautifully......take a listen.