We were right to be angry at the great wrongs of 9/11, but at some point, rehearsing that anger year after year doesn’t move us toward justice, love, or the forgiveness Jesus commands of his followers. It moves us toward resentment, hostility, and bitterness, with all the trouble it brings (Heb. 12:15).
We never knew how to mourn. We just knew how to get angry.
We need to learn all over again how to handle the memory.
How we remember is as important as that we remember, as theologian Miroslav Volf has argued, and we should discipline ourselves to remember “both with the desire for knowing truth and with the desire of overcoming enmity and creating a communion in love.”
It was a fundamental change in our society. I was reminded of so much in a Netflix short series called “Turning Point.” The footage of the day… the phone calls recorded from people who knew they weren’t going to make it out of the towers that day… the phone calls from Flight 93…
The wars that followed… especially Iraq. I think of that time period and being so naive and losing a close Muslim friend over my bent thinking at the time, and it still brings tears to my eyes.
…in our efforts to define what it means to be a Christian man, we shouldn’t center our efforts on “masculinity” at all, but rather on understanding a person—a person who, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Driscoll, in all his toughness and swagger, tried to make men out of Christians. The church, however, should make Christians out of men.
“… evangelism, which will flourish best if the church is giving itself to works of justice (putting things to rights in the community) and works of beauty (highlighting the glory of creation and the glory yet to be revealed): evangelism will always come as a surprise. You mean there is more? There is a new world, and it has already begun, and it works by healing and forgiveness and new starts and fresh energy? Yes, answers the church, and it comes about as people worship the God in whose image they are made, as they follow the Lord who bore their sins and rose from the dead, as they are in dwelt by his Spirit and thereby given new life, a new way of life, a new zest for life.” — NT Wright, Surprised by Hope
Let us, as the Church, find this hope-shaped mission, abandon our dualism of “saving souls”, and truly be about the work of our Lord.
This week was a whirlwind of activity with the SBC annual meeting in Nashville and a narrow “win” for the leadership of SBC going to the least offensive candidate. (He is actually a good man and I am familiar with his work in racial justice in the Mobile area.)
It was a tense week watching conspiracy theories and bad information flow into a meeting, and then taking a breath as the SBC decided, for the moment, to not plunge totally into an abyss of at least the appearance of Christian nationalism. Even if it’s a step back from the brink, it’s still clear that a good strong wind could take care of that in quick fashion.
The new boogey man of current culture wars, because we always need culture wars to keep winning elections, is Critical Race Theory. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry about. Take comfort in this: neither does your state legislature and THEY want to ban it in classrooms. (NOTE: This is referring to Republican controlled legislatures.)