The more I think of it, the more I know the word is a crucial part of my make-up. Word-read, word-seen, word-taught and word-written are an integral part of who I am in the same way that images and capturing them is crucial to artists and photographers and sounds are crucial to musicians. The word-read is me at my most natural, but leading from that the word-written is the most effective product of that process. It’s like breathing in and out – it doesn’t make sense reading so much if I don’t get to write at least some of what is entering me.
Today I continued the reading of the Tony Blair biography by Anthony Seldon. I have found the journey of reading it highly illuminative, not only in getting an insight on the man, but also getting a greater appreciation for what it takes to lead and how as things change then so do our needs and necessarily the nature of relationships.
On my way back from tonight’s Men’s Meeting I was reading about the impact of 9/11 on Blair’s premiership. It got me thinking of that contentious and explosive word ‘terrorism’. How would I cope if I felt I was being unfairly treated and the powers that be were ignoring me? How would I respond to a state of such injustice that my very humanity is being undermined and disparaged? What acts could I possibly take if I feel like my entire way of life is being patronised, demonised or otherwise disrespected?
I was reflecting on the fact that the call to follow Christ is necessarily one of rejection and persecution – why don’t we hear that more often? As such though, those feelings of neglect, demonization and ridicule should be a part of the fabric of belief and a peace-making response should be up my sleeve – which it is by some of the writings of Paul who calls for us to fight spiritual warfare with the whole armour of God which is rooted in faith in the ministry of the ultimate rejected one and expression of His character of grace, truth, compassion and mercy. That’s a radical response to take and open to much criticism for hardly being aggressive enough to meet the challenges of the forces that oppose us.
Which brings me naturally back to the initial questions and how, without a frame of reference like radical Christianity, such states of being can be resolved? I cannot talk from a position of expertise on the issues surrounding what led up to 9/11 and the various forces involved. What I can say though is that the narrative that has been spun since depicting the forces of good and evil is never that straightforward. The reasons behind the ‘just war’ thinking is not that clear or convincing, especially when the hypocrisy of liberal democratic capitalistic systems are enlightened for the materialistic idolatries that they are in many cases.
So what am I saying, am I saying that 9/11 is justifiable and due recompense for the evil taking place in US? Not at all – all I am saying is that considering the word ‘terrorism’ triggered off these thoughts in me head about what we do when we are suppressed and oppressed and marginalised by a juggernaut of a way of life which on the surface promotes tolerance and pluralism, but actually implicitly is intolerant of systems that don’t accept their values. Oh how great the challenge of radical Christian peace-making becomes in these times.
For His Name's Sake