Social Justice

I See

So many United Methodist ministers walking around today with edges that cut like broken plates. The strong and weighty wrongs they have been done by their creation, in which they placed their livelihoods and their trusts, have broken them.

I have small gifts for healing. My stronger gift is seeing. I see fractures in your faces, the nerve endings raw and pulsing as space opens between you and other members of your fellowship. I see you hunch over while pretending not to care. I see the porcelain make-up masks you put on, the deep, encouraging breaths you take before you say you are resigned to the split in your denomination, blithely. I hear bravado in your posts as you try out ways to speak your truth. I see the love you still feel even as you let go and turn away.

The world is breaking open around us. The limits of our ideas, and the smallness of the imaginations that conceived them have proven insufficient for the challenges of this day. The things to which we gave our allegiance and ceded our authority have forgotten that we made them for human use, not to use humans, and they fight with all the ferocity and violence of living things so as not to die.

They are scoring claw marks and gnawing fatal wounds into their own fleshless flesh. Rick Deckard sets a caution-something in our empathy connects us even to systems and simulacrums that have no capacity to compassion us back. We writhe and weep as they pull the legs from us, one by one, thinking it is these ideas into which we have poured our souls that are God.

I have small gifts for healing, but I see your hurt. I see your bleeding. I see your three-legged wobble, and the damage you do to yourselves week by week in trying to preach a Gospel in your Church while the Nazis spray violent, pornographic graffiti all up and down its walls and the roof creaks, dismayingly on fire.

The other thing I see is a web of connections. These connections run backwards and forwards through time. They pass through walls without a flicker, and cross playfully between the barriers separating the living from the dead. They are made up of words and actions, and they pulse and stab with comforts, betrayals, and the sounds illusions make as they die. I wish you could see it, too.

There is a thing out there people call The Connection, and they are scrambling with everything they have to hold it together. But that thing is a clunky replica of this other thing. Worse, the replica is brittle with rust and moth-eaten decay, and while the earnest faithful work so hard to keep it from crumbling to dust in their hands, their knifeblade edges threaten the delicate strands of relationship that build that other web, that other Connection, the one that runs between every you and every me.

I think Macbeth saw a glimpse of that actual Connection behind him when the armies of MacDuff marched to bring him down. He saw it drenched in blood and pain, and realized what it would cost him to repair it. He glimpsed his culpability and his courage finally failed him. He could not find the fortitude to face the possibility of forgiveness. He chose instead to let his false vision guide him, to put his trust in the system, the simulacrum of power and position his people had designed. By then, he knew it would have no mercy, but it was so much easier just to let it have its way.

I wonder what the story might have been, might still be, if he had chosen to let go of Fate even if with only one hand, so he could attempt repair of one single strand of that web. What breach caused by breach of trust might have been crossed? What betrayal might have been transformed? What relationship might still have held him at the end?

I see you. I see how much you hurt. I have no great gift for healing. I would offer it if I could.IMG_2765

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