Part of the scripture reading was the beginning of Isaiah 10 (NIV): “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people.”
But beyond the message was the relational connections. I knew a LOT of people there, and not just my fellow parishioners. There’s a colleague from the North Country, way above Albany, who attended. He’d heard Liz speak on videos and wanted to see her in person. I sent him this Faith in Public Life webinar on Census 2020, trying to include everyone.
One friend shocked another – they had never met each other – in discussing John Calvin, the progenitor of Presbyterianism and his role in the burning of Michael Servetus. As the Calvinist said, “We never learned about THAT in my confirmation class.”
Still another buddy was stunned by the assertion, by me and another, that the National Rifle Association, founded 1871, was actually a largely non-partisan group in its first century. It’s only been since the 1970s that it became radically politicized.
Even someone breaking into our church at 4 a.m. on Sunday – a broken door window, but nothing of value apparently taken – did not cancel out the meaningfulness of the weekend.
He too is incredibly impressed by the Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who offered “the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this. You may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you.”
A key paragraph of the Weekly Sift rebuttal: “In my view, America (or Western culture, for that matter) isn’t something that arises from the essential nature of the White race. America is something we do, not something we are. It is an idea that can be shared by anyone who is inspired to share it.”
I suppose it’s important to understand the hate mentality, though I’m not convinced that comprehension will be enough to stem the tide of bigotry. But I do see a linkage between the attack on the poor and attacks on racial/ethnic/religious “others.” It’s driven by fear.
The default answer for a lot of Americans is Canada. It’s like the US, except they have better health care and don’t fear the metric system, the argument has been. And if the globe is warming, Canada might be a thought. But those waves of cold weather this past winter in the US, all stored to our north, and fueled by the Arctic melting, worries me.
The United Kingdom my wife loves. But it appears broken economically and is subject to that same nasty weather we experience on this side of the pond.
I don’t know enough about Belize, but moving closer to the equator doesn’t interest me much. I loved Barbados, but, in addition to too much heat, and hurricanes, I can’t imagine living on a small island. Not diverse enough geographically, and too expensive.
Ultimately, I think it’d have to be in the Southern Hemisphere. While Australia seems interesting, the ghastly warm weather that has been experienced in the interior the last couple of years, north of 125F/50C would keep me away from everything except the east coast cities.
Another option, I suppose, is New Zealand. This is in no small part because Arthur the AmeriNZ has described it so well in his blog and podcasts. It’s reasonably progressive. Now I may NEVER figure out its electoral system the way I know the US system. Then again the US system is broken, so no big loss.
Climate change will affect NZ too, but the southern landmass of Antarctica may make that a LITTLE less terrible, for a time. Now, it IS on the ring of fire of volcanic and earthquake activities, which makes me nervous. Still, I guess I’ll say New Zealand because at least I’d know someone there. *** SamuraiFrog wants to know:
At what point is an argument over for you? I know someone on Tumblr who recently engaged in victim-blaming just to end an argument. He felt bad about it, knew it was wrong, admitted it, and sincerely apologized. But some people are still invested in making him feel bad about it. At what point do you let something like that go?
It all depends. What is the “crime”, first of all? Some dumb comment someone makes in the heat of the moment might get a pass unless it’s so hateful and vicious that you have to surmise that, deep down, that he or she must be a really awful person.
Michael Richards of Seinfeld fame gave a really nasty racist rant, I hear. I didn’t listen to it. There’s a point, though, that it is in the past, and for me, Richards is there.
Of course, it matters if it is a real apology. Richards sincerely apologized. I’m sure I must have mentioned this topic somewhere about bad apologies. Oh, there it is, from 2009:
DON’T use the word BUT. An example would be, “I’m sorry, BUT you started it.” DON’T use the word IF. My least favorite apology: “I’m sorry IF you’re offended.” The clear implication is that you really SHOULDN’T be offended, but I better say it anyway.
Lame apologies get zero points from me.
Nasty words written are more difficult to forgive. I do know that people can get caught up in a debate on social media, though, which is why I tend to minimize my contribution to the same.
But some acts are so egregious that even a sincere-sounding apology is hard to accept: “I’m truly sorry that I molested those boys over a 20-year period.” Not satisfactory.
Now, online fights, I’ll just walk away from, even if THEY think that, by not responding, they think I think they’re right. I suspect that your Tumblr acquaintance, assuming he keeps his nose clean, will come out OK, if only because his critics will latch on to someone else.
Whereas a face-to-face or phone argument might be a different issue, especially among friends or relatives. You may have heard stories of fights that went on for years or even decades. True of my maternal grandmother and her brother over the fact that he was “living in sin” with a woman in the 1960s.
And speaking of arguing – Not an ARA question, but rather a comment by Lisa to this post:
I would encourage you to try and get back into one of the groups at your church. That seems to be an area of importance for you and may be the best place to nurture those human interactions. But you’ll always have us…….:-)
As it turned out, I actually had an odd incident at one of these groups back in April, and it’s not entirely settled.
It was after The Daughter was starting to get better after her terrible March. I hadn’t gone to the previous meeting, partly because it was Lydia’s birthday, but partially because she was still having issues. Getting together with this group was something I was clearly looking forward to, as I had purchased lots of snacks.
But one guy dominated the conversation with references most of the rest of us did not understand for a good half hour. By the time I got to say something, someone made a joke that less upset me than distracted me from what I had hoped to be talking about. I angrily stormed out and didn’t come back for the last three or four meetings before the summer break. I may return in the fall.
Still, it’s not the same as one-on-one conversation with an old friend.