Normally my posts here are about God in my life. Maybe with a little Bible reflection thrown in. Or a few highlights of places I love in the Twin Cities. Sometimes I wonder if that’s enough. And sometimes I feel shallow sharing small things I’m learning in the midst of so much catastrophe in the world.
I struggle to write about what I see happening in the world around me. It’s not that I don’t notice the news about Nepal or Baltimore. It’s not that I don’t care. What’s happening in the world matters. Deeply.
Life is not just about me and my story. Pursuing God isn’t just about the private things God teaches me, but also about loving justice and mercy. Loving God means loving people in the world around me.
But when it comes to writing about justice or catastrophes like Nepal, I don’t always know how. I don’t feel comfortable. I don’t know how to say something that seems life giving and genuine in the face of that much pain and despair — particularly while I write from a space of relative comfort. In cases like Ferguson and Baltimore, I don’t know who to believe in the media reports that I read; the skeptic in me thinks no one is giving the full story, so I straddle the fences thinking both sides have made mistakes.
Afraid of saying something unintentionally offensive or destructive, I lean towards saying nothing.
Dorothee Soelle totally struck my heart. She has me pegged pretty darn good. She writes, “Yet the avoiding tactic of the class to which I too belong — the middle class — is neutralization. Objectivity and non-partisanship are educational goals which we have internalized… Middle class people prefer not to decide. They see themselves standing above the conflict… But the danger of the middle-class situation is eternal indecision (Soelle, Choosing Life, 52).”
That’s me. Indecisive. Preferring not to decide.
Even now as I try to wrap up this post, I feel like I’ve still not decided. I still don’t know how to speak about what I see in Baltimore. I visited the city just once. As a freshman, I traveled with my dad on his work trip. On said trip, I filmed nearly every fish in the National Aquarium with the family video recorder. Worst home video ever! That’s the extent of my Baltimore connection.
So, what follows might be naive. It might be stupid. But, I’m going to take a risk and try to say something.
I am a pacifist and abhor violence; that’s a gut reaction. At the same time, I don’t think people riot when they feel they can be heard or when they trust a system to be just.
I fear that our cry for peace often comes at the expense of silencing the cry for justice. Once the outcry is quieted, it’s easy to ignore the wellspring of pain that prompted the riot. We move on. We maintain what’s comfortable. We forget. There’s a new crisis in the media. And the system gets let off the hook.