Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Etiquette of Invective

"I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world." Jesus, John 12:47

I recently received an interesting, albeit far too long, note from an anonymous reader. It detailed some of the ways in which we ordinary folk have been fooled by the economic shenanigans of the outrageously wealthy. It raised some important questions about so-called philanthropy and warned of possible hard times to come. I was pleased to read it and would certainly have posted some of it were it not for one thing. The author indulged in name calling.

We're way beyond that, folks. The issues are far too important. Even the most difficult problems can be presented in a constructive manner -- indeed, constructive is just what we need at a time when so much we have taken for granted, both for good and for ill, just isn't there anymore. People may sound sure of themselves, but I'm not sure anyone knows what is happening.

My own spiritual practice has taught me that there is no sin that cannot be transformed into goodness if we can but open our hearts to the holy. Many of the folks that got us into this mess are brilliant and remembering Paul on the road to Damascus, or Milarepa, seeing the ruins of the village he had destroyed with his power, I pray not for their downfall, but for their transformation.

When I watched the film Jesus Camp with our 8th grade, we saw what a polarized nation we have become. The need to be right all the time is intellect run amok. No system has all the answers. It is time to forgive, not name call. Beneath all that rhetoric, we are more alike than we think.

The path toward truth is never paved with taunts.

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