Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cursing the Darkness

I used to wonder how the Nazis became the way they were. Surely they were evil, in a way that normal people aren't. I wondered how it was that I could have been related to them -- however distantly. Had I sprung from a race of monsters?

The past eight years have answered that question. Actually, and with frightening rapidity, we have seen it develop over these last thirty years. As has so often happened over history, we have become what we once conquered.

Those who dispose of their fellow human beings, even professionally, for the sake of profits would -- if asked to -- as easily send them to concentration camps as they would fire them or "downsize" them out of their livelihood. They are "just following orders." And in the process, they have lost all contact with what it means to be children of God.

Listening to their ringleader, their Fuhrer, in his final presidential press conference, I hear an eerie disconnect between power and responsibility. We have surrendered the power over our lives just as laboratory rats give themselves over to the technicians who use and eventually kill them. Our corporate lords and masters feel no greater compunction about making life-and-death decisions about us than those white-coated functionaries do toward those small rodents. Their universe has no room for God. They are gods unto themselves.

We must fight this, just as the resistance movement in Europe fought the fascists of yesteryear. This is the moral task of our age. And it need not be done in hostility or anger; it can indeed be a positive, loving and life-giving endeavor.

If we, as a society, do not pull together now and stop behaving like jungle beasts, we will destroy each other -- and ourselves. Like the Nazis, our oppressors would keep us alienated from each other and from our very selves. We have to give a damn about each other, because a world that is a cold, hard, howling wilderness for others can never be anything better for us. To make a world we want to live in, we must make a world in which others want to live, too.

This is not about making "Heaven on earth," as the wingnuts would claim. It's about keeping the world from descending into Hell.

This is God's work for me -- and for all who would serve God in this world. I need to figure out how to live this mission more completely in my own life. Merely eking out a living -- a bare subsistence -- will never be enough for me again.

Times are tough -- there's little chance I might forget that. But the only way they'll ever get any better is if we all pitch in and help.

We can either light a candle or curse the darkness. But if each of us lights a candle, we can fulfill the mission Christ has given us to help Him light the world.


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