Lamentations

In Plato's Allegory of the Cave, the individual who encounters reality is driven to help those still imprisoned in their delusions. He reenters the cave and tries to save others - but they not only refuse to leave, they turn and attack the one who would help them. 

I suppose that makes him an idiot for going back, right? 

I tend to think of myself as a relatively cynical person. I'd like to expect the best of people, but I don't. I expect people to be greedy, self-interested asshats. Most of the time, it isn't even a matter of people being actively hateful or purposefully hurting others - it's just that people are more interested in securing their own petty desires than in helping others. Sure, it might be a bitter laugh-off, but what else should I expect?

And then there are times like this past week when I am genuinely devastated by people's asshatness, and I realize I'm not so cynical after all - I actually do expect people to be decent, which is why I'm shocked when they're not. Nine people were killed by a man-child who had been spouting hatred for a long time, actually speaking about plans to do something like this for months, and no one stopped him before he reached the murder point. Hell, his dad gave him the gun! Afterwards, Charleston kept that Confederate battle flag the terrorist loved flying high, right proud of their Southern heritage's emblem of slavery and hatred. You can't ask for a more direct indication that the U.S. has a serious problem with guns and racism than that, but what are people's reactions? "Can't let the government take my guns!" and "The Confederate flag is a Southern treasure!" Some are denying it's a race-motivated attack, and one politician has called it an "accident

(Now, here's a warning: this is where it turns into a religious post.)

And then they invoke God. The same Christian God who advocated peace with all men, to extreme measures. The same Jesus whose radical politics called for loving beyond racial boundaries, for giving everything to help those in need, for refusing to return violence for violence, even to the point of death.  This is the same Christ, they adamantly shout, who wants them to hoard guns "just in case" and who they expect to bless them while drape themselves in hatred. 

What the hell is wrong with people?! 

So, I'm giving up. I'm leaving social media (except for my church obligations and to check in with friends in crisis situations). I'm shutting down the blog. Just for a little while - I'm not known for shutting up, and I honestly think it's a Christian duty to call out such rampant injustice, especially within the Church. I just can't do this right now. All I have in me right now is prayer - God give us mercy, because we need it. 

In fact, my heart keeps going back to the Litany of Social Justice from St. Augustine's Prayer Book. I hope there are still decent people out there who will pray it with me.

O God the Father of all men,
     Have mercy on us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of all men,
     Have mercy on us.
O God the Holy Ghost, dwelling in all men,
    Have mercy on us.

For the injustices we have committed by our words and actions, 
     Forgive us.
For our responsibility for suffering, death, and total war,
     Forgive us.
For the persecution of our fellow men because of race, education, language, and nation,
     Forgive us.
For our dehumanizing and manipulation of our fellow men,
     Forgive us.
For all who have suffered and perished because of the misuse of our economic wealth, and for all whom we have exploited,
     Forgive us.
For all who have suffered from our unjust treaties, laws, and prisons,
     Forgive us.
For the separation of Christians from society because of our sloth, arrogance, and parochialism,
     Forgive us.

Show us, O Lord, the light of your Justice:

That we may never allow injustice because of indifference or cowardice,
     Hear us, Lord.
That we may never seek to exploit men by fear, by threat of atomic desolation, by starvation, or slander,
     Hear us, Lord.
That we may seek peace and justice rather than power and affluence,
     Hear us, Lord.
That we may recognize political corruption and purify it,
     Hear us, Lord.
That we may rightly use our economic power,
     Hear us, Lord.
That the life of the Trinity may be present in family life,
     Hear us, Lord.
That we may know all men in the image of God and live accordingly,
     Hear us, Lord.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, who hast created man in thine own image; Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil, and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice among men and nations, to the glory of thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.







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