Thursday, May 29, 2008


In the midst of chaotic family visits, I read on Memorial Day that “more than 100 soldiers” have committed suicide in the last year.

That is a profoundly disturbing statement. I have no idea if this is high or low in relationship to other wars fought by U.S. soldiers but it seems horribly high regardless.

More than 100 soldiers lived and worked in an area in which their lives were endangered at almost every step and rather than rely on the good chance that they would be maimed rather than killed, they ended their own lives. No purple hearts…no sub-level hospital care…no worrying about broken promises, pledges or loss of benefits for their loved ones at home. They choose to die rather than to live.

Life was so intolerable, so fraught with despair that it became more simple for them to end it all, even with the knowledge that rather than pride, there would be a shame attached to the loved ones back home.

Then there are all the gay teens who are bullied to the point that they feel it easier to die than it to live. For both groups, death makes sense. Living doesn’t.

Or even the straight boy who chose to murder the young gay boy in California last February – it was so intolerable to think that another boy could ask him to be his Valentine. The idea of shooting Larry King in the head seemed to make more sense to the straight boy, Brandon.

Before someone somewhere voted George W. into office as President and when he was governor of Texas and the Environmental Protection Agency mandated that Texas decrease its emission levels to a more acceptable level in compliance with the rest of the nation, he deemed it unnecessary. Not only did he deem it unnecessary but he also declared that the EPA had no right to tell Texas how to run its government. It made sense to him…cutting emissions meant that major corporate donors might get mad at him and not help finance those things that made sense to him. Later, his successor, Rick Perry, chose to ignore the dangers of the cement kilns operating in East Texas and gave the owners of the plants until some ungodly date in 2020 or something of the sort to clean up their dirty acts. This made sense to the power hungry governor of Texas.

Sort of like Jack Iker and the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. He and his disciples decided that they did not like the way the Episcopal Church made decisions…actually it wasn’t that the Church made the decisions in an incorrect manner…it was that Jack et al were always in the minority; therefore, the decisions reached never turned out the way they wanted them. Because the Church was always in disagreement with Jack and the others, they decided it was necessary to find an alternative. Separation and declaring a whole host of groups and people out of communion or in impaired communion with the Diocese of Fort Worth made sense to Jack and those who agree dwith him.

We live in a senseless world. A war that has killed thousands of U.S. citizens and even more Afghanis and Iraqis, both soldiers and citizens, not to mention the frustration, fear and despair that leads to the hundreds of suicides; gays and lesbians so hated and feared that suicide or murder seems more logical; a nation that runs on hysteria and misinformation rather than reality and truth all the while declaring itself in love with “reality” shows; and a diocese that works on a logic that is understandable only to those who live in the same mental world…this world does not make sense to me.

God gave humans dominion over all the earth. I have dominion over my child. That does not mean that I have the right to neglect, misuse or abuse him. Dominion may mean power but it does not mean power to use at one’s own discretion regardless of the damage that may be done.

We have taken our idea of dominion to a new low. In the name of our god (little “g”), we bow to the capitalistic greed that dictates our lives. We cater and court the desires of corporate America in the hopes that there might be some truth in the idea of the trickledown theory. The problem with that is that all the drips of the trickledown theory are gobbled up by the upper echelon before it can drizzle into the lives of those below upper middle class. The American Dream – winning the lottery or getting some of that which trickles down from the upper crust…

The further I walk on this journey the less I am able to justify the idea of corporate America walking hand in hand with Christianity. How can we serve two gods at the same time?

The argument that money is not our god is false in my mind. If it is not a god, why then do we strive so hard for it? How do we justify greed over need? How can we drive vehicles whose only purpose is to satisfy an insatiable desire? Why must a mom work three jobs to take care of her children – just to provide a roof, food and clothes? We are so ready to criticize the idea of “latch key kids” without ever thinking that $5.25 an hour won’t pay for all the necessities plus day care…not even if that minimum wage is for 60 hours or more per week.

Why are our children dying in foreign countries? Why are our children killing themselves? Why are we killing this planet? Why is power so important to some people? Why are we abusing the “dominion” that God has given us over this world?

We have taken that which God created, that precise, intricate, awesome wonder and made it into a senseless world. We have abused and misused the gifts that God has given us.

In the name of God, Creator of the Universe, Maker of all that is, seen and unseen, known and unknown, we fall down on our knees and worship a god that we have crafted in our own image.

All of this for the sake of desire. There is no way to justify or deny that. None.

May God have mercy on our senseless senses.


Fr. Tom said...

Barbi, all that you write I find myself in agreement with. And when I think of soldiers killing themselves for fear of being mamed, I think of those people in the Chuch who have taken their leave for fear that a bishop, a priest or the institution altogether would mame them spiritually. As Chaplain of Fort Worth's Integrity chapter, I am surprised (but not shocked) at the number of LGBT persons who have actually left the Episcopal Church (in this diocese) because of how the current bishop views their (ahem) "lifestyle." I remember what you said once that if all of the gay people stayed home one Sunday, attendance in the Church would be noticeably low. But what about the others who have been spiritually mamed by bishops, clergy and even fellow lay members? The feminists, the pro-choicers, the divorced, anyone with a voice who opposes the status quo? Do we live in a senseless world or is it that we are surrounded by individuals who are so guilty of committing senseless acts and making senseless remarks that they are so unaware (or are they?) of what they are doing to others? And should we not take on some of the responsibility ourselves? Why do we allow this senselessness? Why do we not shout as loud as possible and demand that change happen now? Why do we continue to allow bishops and priests and deacons and the Church and the President and politicians and nay sayers to get away with the same crap? As to power, which you speak about - it is true. Lord Voldemort (in Harry Potter: The Secret of the Sorcerer's Stone) says (to Harry) "There is no good and evil; there is only power and those too weak to seek it." We live in a world of the crave of power. It comes from the highest of Fortune 500 companies, those in political positions, those in the Church, and so-forth. In the name of God we have created our own god. We might as well have a bronze cow or other symbol dressed in floral diplays and votives and give it the title of "Power" as we chant and sing lauds before it. As we cut off our limbs and slaughter one another in Power's name. As we allow soldiers to commit suicide so we allow clergy to commit spiritual fraud in the lives of others. Power has a better name. It is Fear. As we find (in my favorite New Testament letter) in Hebrews: So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me? Hebrews 13:6

Barbi Click said...

"Out beyond the wrongdoing and the rightdoing is a field; I will meet you there." (Rumi)

The day is coming...and coming soon. We will keep on keeping on, Thomas.