Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Freedom and Responsibility

(Note- I'm using Lent and Easter Wisdom from Thomas Merton as my Lenten devotional this year. I'll be blogging the journaling prompts most days.)

Before we get to today's devotional thoughts, I want to say thanks for all the prayers and good wishes that went out for me and the other candidates interviewing at BOMEC these past few days. My interview was very challenging, but it went well. I'll find out if I'll be ordained this year on Thursday afternoon, so I'm going to try to keep myself busy over the next 48 hours!

That being said, let us hear from Fr. Thomas...

Our abdication of responsibility is at the same time an abdication of liberty. The resolution to let "someone else", the anonymous forces of society, assume responsibility for everything means that we abdicate from public responsibility, from mature concern, and even from spiritual life. ~Seasons of Celebration, p. 20

Have you turned over responsibility for your life to the influences of our culture? To whom and to what have you made yourself subservient?

Subservient? Hmmm... I'm not sure about that one. I prefer to think in terms of accountability. I have willingly entered into relationships where I am accountable to my wife, my children, my congregation, my Bishop and District Superintendent, the Annual Conference, etc. I have made covenants with each of these individuals/entities that I take seriously, and in times when I would prefer to do things that are in conflict with those covenants, I choose not to because of the promises I made, and because I would not want to deal with the consequences of breaking those promises, even if I was the only one who ever knew.

All that being said, though, Merton was profoundly concerned with Christians accepting their social responsibility. He did not anticipate, nor would he have supported, the rise of the Religious Right, but during his time, he was disturbed to see Christians, or any human beings for that matter, casually accept the inevitability of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, poverty, and racism, among other things.

I was born twelve years after Thomas Merton died, but in my own time, far too many of my Christian brothers and sisters casually accept, and even advocate war with Iran, just as they did war with Iraq.

We look the other way as our brothers and sisters suffer in generational poverty, and when someone dares question the morality of our economic system, we attack with words like "socialist" and worse.

We look the other way, and are sometimes even the aggressors against our dark skinned brothers and sisters who "look Muslim", regardless of whether they are or not.

So as a follower of the Prince of Peace, the one who proclaims God's favor to each and every single person, the one who "fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty" (Luke 1:53- a passage that should scare those of us with the time and resources to sit around and blog to death), I can't sit by silently as injustices occur. I can't throw up my hands and say that there's nothing I can do. Maybe there isn't but I won't know until I try. Not if I really want to call myself his disciple.

This is the freedom for which Christ has freed us. So let our voice be heard.

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