Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Week In Review

It's time that we return to our regular content, and since I am now commuting an hour each way to Surrey 4 times a week - I've had ample time to work my way through my new collection of books. This week I completed: The Word and The Bomb - Hanif Kureishi and on Friday finished a copy of a speech given by Arundhati Roy - it's a 60 page little book entitled Public Power in the Age of Empire.

The both had some interesting points I would like to share with you - Kureishi while writing as a Londoner and specifically in relation to the rise in militant Islam in their country made the following statement that grieved me when I really thought about it.

"We have not seen religious revolutionaries for a long time. Apart from liberation theology in South America - the church being used as an outlet for Left opposition - the only significant religion we saw for a long time was the new Soft Age, as well as other right-wing cults, like the Moonies. Even Martin Luther King was considered by use to be a black leader rather than a religious one.

For us, religious commitment, particularly if it was political too, entailed not emancipation but rejection of the Enlightenment and of modernity. How could we begin to deal with it? You respect people who are different, but how do you live with people who are so different that - among other things- they lock up their wives?" pg 7-8

Now to look at that statement - we have not seen religious revolutionaries - and it is true we have not - we have not seen a clear non-violent focused movement seeking to change a social mindset coming from the Church but even worse it isn't even in the Church - the core of where it should be and starting, within the Christian Community as a whole - thus big C church - community. Where is the cry for peace, for social justice, for a movement clearly away from the American/North American way of life? I still find it continually hard to support my desire for a life of service against the weight of all that surrounds me and the one thing that should be there reinforcing that call isn't - my big C church - continually scoffs at me with every James Dobson radio address, with every 500 Club show, Joel Osteen book bought and spiritually hollow mega church built while children starve, while we turn out backs on those in need saying we can't afford to, ignoring the fundamental needs of clean water, food, safety and love.

The thing with revolution is one with passion and a call - one that is true - like the civil rights movement, is that it inspires - which is what we need now - instead of fear mongering and governments jumping at shadows and myths in an effort to inspire a country to hate all that is seen as "other."

As to the second quote - it highlights the current struggle with the Church in North America today - where the Religious Right serves primarily to be the pendulum swing or the knee jerk reaction to all that is seen as "other:" Gays, Lesbian, Transgender, Bi-sexuals or Gender Identified as, Feminists, Vegans/Vegetarians, Environmentalists, Pro-Choice, Democrats, Drug users, Hip-Hop music lovers, Post Modernists, even just plain old educated folks. That's all we served to do is to push away at the other saying stay over there - don't come near our kids - and in essence pushing one generation and the subsequent ones back in their understanding of the world and those who are not Christian - which simply pushes the Church even further from those it should serve. Note I said serve not convert - this isn't a frequent convert project - Jesus set out to serve - and through His love and action brought people to Him. We should really we should be saying quite the opposite, "So what do you have to say?" Why do you like Leah believe God is Green, why like me do I believe God designed us to work in partnership not one gender beholden to the other, Why do you like Jocelyn believe the Democrats have it right?

1 comment:

Jocelyn said...

I think today we (as a Church) are still arguing over words, and have been for a long time. We are so busy arguing over words that we can't seem to coalesce into the type of movement you are indicating. Perhaps it is this infighting and arguing over structures and words that prevent a true movement, though I'd dispute the perception that Dr. King was purely a "black leader." You should read his speeches on the internet - he is far more foundationally Christ-following than many pastors in pulpits currently. His writings often bring me to tears with their clarity - from what I know of that movement, it was a rare moment in history when the morality was so clear, the opportunity so urgent, and the people so united, that Dr. King's spiritual words resonated with people far beyond his congregations.
This is the sort of revolution we should be looking to - one that not only inspires the religious to look outside their walls, but one that calls for unity between those inside the church and those outside, to work together on the revolution. It's an extremely rare moment in history when someone's been able to speak across the divide of politics and morality and unite people to act on an issue of justice using nonviolent resistance.