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Thread: I am carrying this shooting in New Zealand like a stone. Particular names, faces, & stories I’ve read, haunt me. But there is the larger brooding thing it signifies I feel in my belly—that this is a hateful time, where most days it feels like fear triumphs over love.
Personally, this coincides with me about to pioneer a new community again. It’s very different than when I did it before. The first time, I just knew I was ready to change the world! This time, I have no idea if the world can be changed. How would I know?
This is my unfashionable admission: I don’t know if it can get better. I don’t know if anything we do is going to “matter” against an avalanche of nationalism, consumerism, militarism, & fundamentalism.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem, b/c he knew the city he loved wasn’t going to change course from the self-chosen destruction her path of violence would inevitably lead. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” the God-man cried, “the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!”
“How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” Jesus was under no delusions—this was not going to end well, for him, or them. It has not for any prophet.
My country, like Jerusalem, has a long history of killing prophets. I am not one, but there are some I’d aspire to follow. And this is no time for prophets—it never really is. Jesus held out hope for Jerusalem, but only the kind that might come on the far side of dying.
Can small acts of kindness change the world? Can prophetic tenderness withstand the rage of the beast, or the more sinister dragon—indifference? Can a song, a poem, a sermon, a hug, a march, a community, make a sound loud enough to be heard over the roaring wind?
How the hell should I know? I only know what love does, & what love must do; that love is the only thing to stand for, no matter what happens to us. Love stands in-between the accused & the accuser, the victim & the shooter, the world that is & the world that may yet come.
Love stands vulnerable, defenseless, not because it “works,” but because there is no other choice. Barbara Brown Taylor writes of this text (Luke 13.31-35), “Jesus won’t be king of the jungle in this or any other story...”
What he will be is a mother hen, who stands between the chicks and those who mean to do them harm. She has no fangs, no claws, no rippling muscles. All she has is her willingness to shield her babies with her own body. If the fox wants them, he will have to kill her first...”
“Which he does, as it turns out. He slides up on her one night in the yard while all the babies are asleep. When her cry wakens them, they scatter. She dies the next day where both foxes and chickens can see her —wings spread, breast exposed —“
“—without a single chick beneath her feathers. It breaks her heart, but it does not change a thing. If you mean what you say, then this is how you stand.” Like this man outside a mosque in Manchester yesterday, I want to find the strength to stand. What else could I do?
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