ferguson o ferguson…
The third event that changed my attitude [of moving from the realm of privacy to my involvement in the peace movement] was my study of the prophets of ancient Israel, a study on which I worked for several years until its publication in 1962. From them I learned the niggardliness of our moral comprehension, the incapacity to sense the depth of misery caused by our own failures. It became quite clear to me that while our eyes are witness to the callousness and cruelty of man, our heart tries to obliterate the memories, to calm the nerves, and to silence our conscience.
There is immense silent agony in the world, and the task of man is to be a voice for the plundered poor, to prevent the desecration of the soul and the violation of our dream of honesty.
The more deeply immersed I became in the thinking of the prophets, the more powerfully it became clear to me what the lives of the prophets sought to convey: that morally speaking there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings. It also became clear to me that in regard to cruelties committed in the name of a free society, some are guilty, while all are responsible.
Abraham Joshua Heschel, (1997-05-16). Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays (Kindle Locations 4787-4794). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.
sometimes, the immense silent agony finds its voice
we have seen this over the past weeks in the small suburb of st. louis of about 22,000 folks–ferguson, mo
it is a town that is only 6.2 square miles
and is a billboard advertisement for some of the vexing issues of our day: poverty, unemployment, poor schools, racial profiling, police brutality, distrust abounding on all sides
and now a young 18 year old black man, killed by a white police officer
the agony erupted
with peaceful protests
with senseless looting
with state troopers seeking to work with the residents
with local police in military battle dress and weapons
mislaid in this is that a mother and a father have lost their son
and a family and a community is not able to fully grieve because their loss has been so violent and so public and so senseless that they have no space for mourning that is not broadcast news…relentlessly
some of us here in nashville, participated in a nonviolent protest for how michael brown died
hundreds gathered at a local baptist church to discuss and strategize a way forward for nashville here in our communities
many of us pray for brown’s family and also pray for darren wilson, the officer who shot brown
this is a complex conflagration of history and emotions and fear and outrage and anger and more
and heschel reminds each of us, that there should be no limit to the concern we must feel for suffering
because indifference to evil is worse than evil itself
so i suggest that we be theological fabulous and get God up doing a standing ovation in creation
by refusing to accept what is, as the best there can be
by shaping our worlds as models for justice and hope
we hold ourselves accountable to remembering that we owe one another respect and the right to our dignity
if we deny justice, we are, in effect, telling those who go without it that they are worthless
and none of us. . .none of us, has that right
although some of us have the power and privilege to do so
we are called to be the responsible ones and not the poster children for a melancholy status quo