Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Remembering Kent State

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.
                             Neil Young

It was the spring of my freshman year in college
I was safely ensconced in Walla Walla, Washington
attending an excellent private college (Whitman)

and working through (by then) probably my third major (yes, already)
I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life
my pre-programed flight plan of following in my father’s footsteps
and becoming a doctor (something the entire town had seemed to vote for)
had already been ended by Dr Woodward and my abysmal performance in Chemistry

now what?
I was struggling with where I was headed
and who I was. 
small town boy had run into a school full of super stars
people who had been at the top of their classes, in classes as large as my hometown
I felt over my head.  A failure
(and my dad wasn’t too pleased with my GPA either)

add into the mix Vietnam
friends being sent into that hell
and not coming back

and then May 4, 1970
Kent State

I remember wondering how this could ever happen in America

many years later I am still moved by that event
still saddened

and I am saddened more by the fact that we don’t seemed to have learned much
we still, as a nation, seem to think that we can use might to fix everything
we are in war after war
even wars at home, the war on drugs (for example), the war on poverty

we have a mentality that assumes that if you have power
and are not afraid to use it for what you want, that is OK

perhaps there are times to assert “power over” in this way
to essentially impinge our priorities on others
although I am less likely to believe that today, than I was yesterday
or the day before.

I think this power over mentality flies in the face of the teachings and life of Jesus
and most certainly flies in the face of the cross
which I believe was all about showing us that the pattern of using power and violence has to stop

but the problem becomes even more profound when we are unwilling to look at ourselves honestly

when I use my knowledge and power to manipulate others, that is bad
when I cannot see that, in the midst of my power plays, I might well be wrong,
when I am not even willing to entertain the idea that I might be wrong,
when I merely get defensive, and offensive when people challenge my behavior
or words
or thinking

that is worse.

it is worse still when people with a lot of power (politicians) do it
it is worse still when nations (Us, but not just us) do it

Kent State
May 4, 1970

Lord forgive us
and forgive us again
and bring forth your new thing
your new way of living


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