“Our real choice is between holy and unholy madness: open your eyes and look around you — madness is in the saddle anyhow.”Norman O. Brown,“Apocalypse: the Place of Mystery in the Mind” address at Columbia University, May 31, 1960
Every one of us is at least a little bit mad: sanctum and sputum
People of my Judeo-Christian tradition are prone to agree with Franz Kafka’s out of the ordinary observation: “the Bible is a sanctum; the world, sputum.” But, whether religious or not, many whose eyes are open and looking around agree with the sentiment that what we see in the world of 2020 is sputum.
The Bible which Kafka called a ‘sanctum’ was not the witness to wrath and vengeance. Nor was ‘the world’ the planet. It was society as we humans have configured it. I write with the Bible in one hand and Kafka’s works in the other. As I read their texts, It seems clear that madness is in the saddle in America and that this madness has turned to vengeance against those who voted to convict him, and to pardons and interference with the justice system, on a rampage. This madness has a history. So does resistance to it. You cannot serve two masters.
Belief means decision
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945) addressed his Confirmation class (seen in this picture) in a sermon preached after when a minority party and widening fear had put a madman in the saddle.
“You have only one master now…But with this ‘yes’ to God belongs just as clear a ‘no.’ Your ‘yes’ to God requires your ‘no’ to all injustice, to all evil, to all lies, to all oppression and violation of the weak and poor, to all ungodliness, and to all mockery of what is holy. Your ‘yes’ to God requires a ‘no’ to everything that tries to interfere with your serving God alone, even if that is your job, your possessions, your home, or your honour in the world. Belief means decision.”Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Gift of Faith,” sermon to confirmation class, Germany, April 9, 1938.
Our real choice is between holy and unholy madness
Yesterday the American president granted a commutation and pardons to men whose offenses look like his own: abuse of power, betraying public trust, soliciting a quid pro quo, fudging tax returns, and lying to investigators. The timing of that announcement is cunning, coming as it does days following, and in the midst of a storm of protest about the president’s or attorney general’ intervention in sentencing of Mr. Trump’s loyal dirty-trickster friend Roger Stone.
Belief means decision
“Open your eyes and look around you.” Madness is in the saddle anyhow. Only a people seeking a ‘holy madness’ can knock him off our horse.
Gordon C. Stewart, Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness, Chaska, MN, Feb. 19, 2020.
We must fervently hope that the ‘holy madness’ does not suffer the same fate as McGovern. (Making some kind of assumption this far in advance is madness itself, but at the moment that seems to be the way the wind is blowing.)
iI remember the day McGovern lost. Students were all over our house crying in disbelief. We were living in a university bubble. I agree. Can the wind blow in that direction twice? It can, and it mustn’t.