I often tell people I’m Episcopalian, of the lefty variety—one wants no “truck” with the high Anglican censure of gays and I’ll be stripped, kneed, and left to cry before embracing the stylized bureaucracies of Christian disdain. I’m spiritually and temperamentally hostile to powers that be. As a boy, one with a disability, I learned that both the civil service and the apparatchiks would never tolerate me, even though sometimes there might be a pretend factor.
And so it’s the loneliness and simultaneous hopefulness of Jesus that I love.
In these days before Christmas 2018 I’m praying for my father in law who is very ill. I’m praying for a friend who’s fighting a wound. Another who’s carrying a lifetime of pain. And still another who is near to losing his home. If I had a walkie-talkie to Christ I’d say: “It’s rough down here. Send more hope. Over.”
In his book “Jesus and the Disinherited” Howard Thurman wrote:
“It is clear that before love can operate, there is the necessity for forgiveness of injury perpetuated against a person by a group. This is the issue for the disinherited. Once again the answer is not simple. Perhaps there is no answer that is completely satisfying from the point of view of rational reflection. Can the mouse forgive the cat for eating him? It does seem that Jesus dealt with every act of forgiveness as one who was convinced that there is in every act of injury an element that is irresponsible and irrational. No evil deed—and no good deed, either—was named by him as an expression of the total mind of the doer. Once, when someone addressed him as “Good Master,” Jesus is quoted as having said, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good, but … God.”
If I’m to grow these last years (I may have twenty left if I’m lucky) I must grapple with a lifetime of fear, sadness, anger, and hot blooded disdain for organized oppression. Able bodied oppressors. They’re on street cars and in board rooms. They’ve struck me with arrows over my lifetime. Forgiving the irresponsible and irrational is such a high ideal why would a single individual commit to it?
Because it is the door to grace.
Because love is eternal.
“But isn’t hate eternal?”
No. It’s localized and it never wins.