Thursday, January 13, 2011


My mind has been on a vacation lately. At least that part of my mind that can take the experiences of my life, and turn them into coherent blog posts. I really miss being able to do that, and am doing everything I can to ensure that I will be able to do that again as soon as possible.

Until such time as that happens, I have a couple observations on the events of this past week. My heart cries for those who were killed in Tucson, and I, while not being a praying kind of person in general, nevertheless say a prayer for Gabrielle Giffords whenever I can. For her, and all those whose lives were changed in an instant. I continue to be amazed at Ms. Giffords' strength and recovery, and I somehow wonder if the positive energy sent by so many people doesn't have something to do with it.

We do not know what exactly provoked this tragedy. We may never will. But regardless of whether or not hateful rhetoric had anything to do with it, I ask this: Can anyone who calls themself a Christian condone any rhetoric that implies violence? And if mental illness had anything to do with it, how have we as a society supported early diagnosis and treatment of mental illness? How have we shown support for individuals who may be suffering from a physiological illness, who manifest it by appearing antisocial? Have we lost the ability to care for those within our community, or have we become victims to chemical onslaughts we don't even know about? How about alienation in general...which I think is an ailment that afflicts more and more.

Maybe an afternoon of cross country skiing tomorrow will help me to think more clearly.


webb said...

Nothing unclear in your thinking! We have become a nation of people living in a vacuum and compartmentalizing even our own lives. If you know someone who has mental illness, you care about it. But if it doesn't touch your own life, then it's probably not all that important to you.

If you are a politician, you make sure you show up at some house of worship once a week. Or if you hold strong religious beliefs you may decide that you need to get into public office so that you can change the laws of the land to reflect your belief system.

So few are thinking of ALL of us - the great body of our country. We want to think just of our own block, or our own house. It really worries me. There's that phrase about "promoting the general welfare" that really has gotten lost. I don't think there are many folks left who care about the good of all of us.

Let me climb down from my soapbox. Good thought (and reaction) provoking post! Have a good weekend. xo

Lausten North said...

I can't speak for all Christians, or all Americans, and I don't like it when anyone tries to tell me how I should think because I happen to be from that part of the country where we are supposed to have Mid-Western values. Trying to tell others what to think is usually where trouble starts.

All we can do is keep asking the questions and telling the stories. I just hope that this is not dismissed as just another crazy. I'm not looking for blame, but a little introspection from all of us could go a long way.

Jayne said...

I agree. We DO need to be cognizant of the words we use and how we use them. A return to some sort of CIVIL discourse is long overdue. The vitriol is spewing all the time, and sadly, those who are teetering mentally CAN and DO get caught up in constantly being fed words that incite. I hope in my lifetime, I see the way we "do" government BY the people and FOR the people completely overhauled.

Island Rider said...

As a Christian, it makes me sick that those who say they love Christ can spew such hatred. When He walked this year, Jesus clearly condemned such behavior. The only thing that I can say is they will get back what they have given. Jesus was clear on that, too. Enjoy your ski trip.

Rabbi Gershom said...

As an Orthodox Jew who happens to be following this blog, I'm not sure what "Midwestern values" are supposed to be, or whether they can include me as a Jew (I live in Minnesota), since the definition of "Midwestern" often seems to be synonymous with "Christian" thereby leaving me out, so I'm just speak from my own religion's values, take it or leave it.

Judaism teaches that the more authority a person has, the more careful they must be in setting an example. This is why Moses did not get to go into the Promised Land, because he struck the rock instead of commanding it to being fotrh water as God had told him to do(Numbers 20:12-14). Such a seemingly minor mistake -- and yet, because it was done in public and because he was the leader, he was held to a much higher standard than the average person.

From this we learn that anybody in a position of authority --be they preacher, prophet, politician or whatever -- has to be very, very careful with their words. Because, unfortunately, there are always those who will take political rhetoric literally. We may never know exactly WHAT triggered this gunman to attack, but we cannot deny that the Tea Party people have raised the vitriol level in politics lately, and others are responding to that, often without thinking about what the consequences might be if somebody take the rhetoric literally.

We should also be careful not to get caught up in somebody else's violent rhetoric, because the Torah also says "You shall not follow a crowd to do evil." (Exodus 23:2) It's always dangerous when people run on emotions instead of thinking things through. (end of sermon)

Deb said...

Thanks all for your insights. I hardly ever get out to our main computer long enough to check comments, so just because I don't respond doesn't mean I haven't read and appreciated them! Rabbi- thank you for that interpretation of the Torah. Seems like no nonsense advice we all could use.