hope and love in a culture of fear

There's a tendency when people start screaming about not taking their guns away to want to tell them they're employing a straw man, or to educate them about what a straw man IS. The problem is not, however, a failure of education or intellect. It's a failure of compassion, of kindness, and of love. What is the answer to that sort of failure?

I have no idea. More love?

It seems so hopeless, when so many people are so sick with fear. But hopelessness is, I think, just a failure of imagination. Let's forget hopelessness. Let's imagine a world in which the first response to tragedy is not belligerent defense of a hobby that even the most tawdry sort of love would quickly abandon if there were even the faint glimmer of a chance that it would mean an end to such violence. Let's imagine a world where we respond to tragedy not with fear but with love-soaked sorrow, and a love-driven determination to ensure that it never happens again.


  1. You and I are both parents of boys. Your post here made me think of something I read yesterday, a very Barkey-esque kind of meditation on masculinity and culture: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2016/06/13/recipe-for-a-shooting/

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. Yeah... the difficulty of solving/healing any major problem like this is that it grows in cultural soil in which all the roots have grown together. Gender roles are so deeply sunk into tainted, poisoned soil.

      I remember that Teilhard de Chardin quote, "Above all, trust in the slow work of God," and I think, in the words of Inigo Montoya, "I hate waiting."

  2. Josh I think you narrowed in on something so important:

    "The problem is not, however, a failure of education or intellect. It's a failure of compassion, of kindness, and of love."

    We have incredibly intelligent people on both sides of the divide but what we need is that intelligence to be coupled with a love that would do anything to bring these men and woman and other deaths from violence and hate back.

    We need new ways of discussing topics. Ones that no matter what side of the divide you are on the motivation is love and a selfless one not a defensive one.

    I wrote a piece about this actually a few days before the tragedy and I think in some ways it still applies greatly.

    Great post.

    -The Smiling Pilgrim

    1. Thank you. I read your post, and I agree. One of my greatest frustrations with the so-called Christian so-called community (I know, I know, I paint with too broad a brush and it takes all kinds and community is where you make it, etc.) is the by-and-large impossibility of HONESTY in that context. As individuals, many (most) of my Christian friends are willing to tell the truth about themselves and to listen to the truth about others... but get 'em all together, and it becomes a jolly game of hide-the-dirt.

      This, too, is part of the cultural context that births violence in our communities. People need pressure-relief valves when they're dealing with stuff. Christians need to stop cranking things down tight and let in a little outside air.

  3. Agreed. I love watching great parents with their kids. It makes me want to be better for mine.Your words, " love-soaked sorrow" is key. Modeling empathy is the only way it is taught. It cannot be something that is just putative. It must be experienced before it can be given. I have three boys and one girl and that empathy is hard for my boys-especially the teens. That's when I have to remember to be extra dilligent. Thanks for the blog. It was a great reminder at the tail-end of my two-week family vacation.
    BTW, loved the set up in Provisions and your son's review of the book.

    1. Thank YOU, Ashley. My son's my favorite critic, because he's completely UN-critical. :-)

  4. I grew up in the culture that viewed speaking of love and compassion as a cover up for actually not wanting to live by the dictates of the Bible; too much emphasis on compassion was seen as wanting a license to sin. This mind set is still very strong in such a culture. Of course, the question is, "What can be done? The only thing I have witnessed that can reach some people of this mind set is when the rest of society starts leaving them behind. We will never reach them in mass. But from time to time, a few here and there, begin to notice how thoughtless their words have been; so they begin to think and to soften the little plot of the world in which they stand...and for that I always have hopes.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts