Tag Archives: 9-11

Video of the month: The president reads Psalm 46

September 18, 2011

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President Obama read this psalm in New York on the 9-11 tenth anniversary. Hear the words and then replay them. They’re good words. We might even want to take them seriously.

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My personal September 11th

September 11, 2011

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’m remembering the descent into the surreal. Radio reports told of crashing planes and dropping towers, of Pentagon flames and building evacuations, of stranded passengers in isolated airports – and, behind it all, there was the leering face of a would-be Messiah-like figure, invoking religion, polluting its name, and wrapping faith in veils of smoke and fireballs. I’m remembering my own rage, my own lust for revenge, and my own recovery. I remember reconciling two streams of thinking and emerging wiser.

As usual, many fingers have wagged during this commemorative week: “We should have done this; we should have done that …” I’ll spare us that and simply reflect: How should a follower of Christ respond to such events? What is the role of a people with dual citizenship in Heaven, which bonds us to those of many nationalities, and an Earthly country? How do we work through our understandable emotions in light of the Gospel? How does our heavenly citizenship play out in in our national citizenship?

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Ready-mix moralism + bland generalizations = ethical tofu

May 8, 2011

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A question: Do three fingers still point back at me when I wag at society’s I-told-you-so finger-waggers? We hear their scolds when they crawl from the think-tank lair in times of strife and doubt, spewing reprimands. They know nothing of the Freudian id’s dark elation. All borders are black lines; all days are bright; there is no moral murk and fog. Their memories are cleansed of New York’s volcano-like plumes, which I saw from the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Garden State Parkway on September 11, 2001, and they feel no ambivalence over the death of a mass murderer and a self-made symbol. Even worse, they’re blind to their own insensitivity as they argue for compassion. They haul out their favorite Bible verses (Proverbs 24:17: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.”), but neglect Scripture’s ambivalence (Proverbs 11:10: “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.”). Their lack of empathy swallows the merits of their arguments.

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