(1) It is quite telling that we have to actively “remember” 9/11. This says a lot about our comfort and privilege.
(2) 9/11 was horrid, but think of the last eleven years in Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa, and so forth.
(3) I think part of remembering 9/11 should be reminding ourselves that outside the comfort of our nation is a lot of suffering globally.
(4) I do not deny that people suffer in this country. That said, we do not experience mass catastrophe and destruction on a regular basis.
4 short reactions:
2. Culture plays a huge role shaping the human condition. Accordingly, if there is suffering in Islamic countries (and I can personally attest that there is) changing the ‘culture’ of Islamic countries is part of the solution. But here’s the dilemma – we cannot both lament suffering in particular cultures AND deny that culture is partly to blame.
3. Suffering, though senseless, and horrid, is nevertheless NEVER without cause … which most nation/states have internal means to correct. Of course, I’m not saying outsiders should not do their part, but outsiders should never be the ONLY solution.
4. I think you do actually .. but your society (as a society) has means and resources to deal with it …. (so theirs cushion) (remember when the state of California was on fire, or Katrina?)
In my area (Pennsylvania) there are a lot of pastors who preach about “evil” or “sovereignty” or something along similar lines either the Sunday before or after 9/11. Inevitably, this turns into a nationalistic pride parade. Perhaps we miss an opportunity to cast our thoughts onto the suffering of the global church as you suggest. From early Sept. to late Nov. what if we intentionally set aside time to focus on not just harvest and Thanksgiving, but also bounty and poverty?
From the waning of ordinary time to the beginning of Advent, what would it mean that Jesus is King? What does that mean for us and our harvests? What does is mean that blessed are the poor?
Suffering is really subjective, so it is hard to quantify; but I get what you are saying, Brian.
Not sure I agree with your #4. It seems that we do experience mass catastrophe and destruction all the time. 9/11 was a unique event that stands out but I can’t think of any other country experiencing anything like that either. In terms of mass murder, we have plenty of it (Aurora, CO and the Sikh Temple shooting are two obvious and immediate examples, but by no means the only instances that we can cite in recent memory). In terms of natural disasters, we have plenty of that too (the Southeast is crippled by hurricanes every year; the Midwest by tornadoes; the West Coast [as you know] by earthquake and fires; etc.). There’s all kinds of poverty; gang violence; rampant disease; etc., and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon.
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