A Clear and Present Danger

We Americans are living in the face of evil. I do not speak easily of ‘evil’. Even now, I hesitate using the word.

But I can find no better word to describe what I hear in the tone of voice and the language that distorts truth, idolizes the nation, insults neighbors and allies, reveres the strong men of North Korea and Russia, presents himself as superior to all his predecessors, withdraws from multinational peacemaking and climate accords, divides the world into winners and losers, refuses to criticize white supremacists, separates poor children of color from their parents at the border, demonizes his adversaries, puts an anti-Semitic preacher from the farthest edge of the religious right on the world stage to represent the American people at the dedication of the U. S. embassy’s re-location to Jerusalem, and does it all in the name of making America secure and great again.

In Christian theology, evil has no standing of its own. It is the twisting of the good, the warping of truth, the abandonment of self-knowledge, the rebellion against accountability, the transfer of free-floating anxiety onto an object of fear that can be defeated, and the illusion of the power of the strong man’s to rescue the good.
Th strong man is the opposite of the preacher from Nazareth who lifted up the poor, the meek, the mourning, the leper, the alien, the foreigner, the religiously different (the ‘good’ Samaritan), declaring that the kingdom of God belongs to them, not to the rich, the proud, the well, the patriots, the people of his religion.

How a disciple of Jesus hears the voice of Jesus in the voice of the strong man is a puzzle whose pieces remain hidden until they are exposed for review. Promotion of the good includes the unmasking of evil, the wisdom to discern when the good is turned upside down, and when truth is twisted by the serpent’s trickery.

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” is the cry from the pews of most every Christian church across the world, the echo of the prayer the soon to be crucified Jesus taught his disciples. Tempted to surrender better selves into the hands of evil, how does a disciple of Jesus manage to salute the strong man in the Oval Office and the party that obeys his will? Every day, I scratch my head, but also try to remember.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

  • Gordon C. Stewart on the wetland, June 27, 2018.

19 thoughts on “A Clear and Present Danger

      • I hear you, Gordon. Why he couldn’t wait until AFTER the midterms to announce his retirement I will never know. I am sick with worry regarding the ramifications. I fear that they are far flung….

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      • I wonder the same, Lori. The best hope we have — hope against hope — is that the idea will cross the Twitter’s head to score points with the Democrats by nominating Gorsuch (sp?) who was Obama’s nominee with bipartisan support. I’m not banking on it, but, hey, truth IS sometimes stranger than fiction.

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  1. I just can’t cope. I feel frustrated by age and infirmity and cnt get out the way I did in the 60’s…I am making calls and donating to causes, but it’s not enough. Our democracy is going down the toilet – are we letting it happen as so many have in the past? I want to run away, but there are those who can’t…….

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    • Barb, I understand the feeling: frustration, powerlessness, “how can this be happening”? Thank you for taking time to share. I’m thinking of you and Carolyn in your times of physical infirmity. I’d send Barclay for a visit if I could.

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      • Thank you, Gordon. Of course I’m with BJ, writing, calling, and donating. And, with her, so frustrated I can’t get out to marches and rallies, so much so that I keep looking where they are to be held and saying ‘Well, maybe we could do this one?’ And BJ has to remind me that it isn’t just standing for the rally — its getting there, finding parking (how far from the event?), walking, standing….., and I have serious hip pain after walking 20 or so yards. **Frustration!**

        As to Barclay, I must tell you I made a picture of him into a puzzle, and enjoy looking at it nearly every day. I also made puzzles of two different pictures of Elijah, which are a delight. The thing that keep me as sane as I am (not too much to boast about) is my blessed ability to lose myself in music, books, videos, and games like puzzles. I sometimes ashamed that I can do this when others are temperamentally unable to get such relief, but I feel such need to get away after all the rotten news!

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    • Marilyn, if it’s not too much to ask and you can afford the postage, would you mind sending me your old piece of chewing gum? Today’s shooting in Baltimore would not have happened before 2016. Now journalists like Garry have bullseyes on their backs. Maddening!

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      • I think the gum is stuck in my right sinus, but I’ll work on it 😀

        Pretty much every day, Garry says how grateful he is to NOT be working in this market. It’s a nightmare.

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  2. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” How difficult to keep thinking that, reacting that way, instead of the obverse, “Cursed are those who behave with unrighteousness, who deprive the poor of their mite….”. Thanks for reminding me, old friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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