Saturday, April 07, 2007

Guilt By Association and Otherwise

One reason I prefer to generate my own content, is that every quote and every link that I use in this blog could be seen as an endorsement for all of the ideas presented by the person quoted. I might be seen as supporting any number of ideas put forward on links connected to the one I have imbedded in my post.

This sort of guilt by association is not unique to blogs. When I quote Jesus of Nazareth, I am delighted to be associated with the Christ, my lord and savior. I am saddened to be associated with some other folks who have quoted my lord and then gone on to espouse despicable ideas and engage in horrific practices.

Jesus was condemned to guilt by association. When he ate with sinners, the religious leaders where quick to take that up as a point against him.
I am infinitely unworthy of better treatment than Jesus. So I will not complain.

I think what is more important is my very real guilt. I am selfish. I want the best for myself and what's left for everyone else. I am quick to take offense and slow to forgive.

In Walt Kelly's cartoon , "Pogo", the title character exclaims, "We have met the enemy and he is us!" Perhaps I should quote the bible to provide more seemly credentials for my thesis. The prophet Zephania speaks for God with a phrase that I hold to be true:

Zephaniah 1:17 Today's New International Version (TNIV)
© Copyright 2001, 2005 by International Bible Society
17 "I will bring such distress on all people that they will grope about like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the LORD. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like dung.

Elsewhere in the bible, it is made very clear that all of us have sinned. Those who suffer any particular horror are , overall, no more guilty than those who are spared. The rich are not exempt. Neither are the poor. No race or nation stands apart. All political parties, all institutions, and even a sweet gathering of a few of my closest friends are all guilty.

I have met many who would protest the word sin. I cannot remember anyone who has seriously thought themselves to be perfect in every word, deed, and thought. Such imperfections are sin as I understand the word. So I have never met anyone who thought themselves to be sin free, as I understand sin.

So as we seek solutions to the world's manifest ills, we would do well to begin with ourselves. We are those who people the nations, who staff the corporations, who establish all manner of human institutions.

A link not many mouse clicks from the video about the global village (below) includes this absurd quote:

The world was watching. But rich countries did not make the decisions that would start to lift millions of people out of poverty. Instead they chose unjust trade policies.

The global campaign for trade justice continues into 2006, galvanized by both the need to win against such resistant opposition and the strength of the campaign so many more millions joined in 2005. Political leaders will see increased pressure on them to not act undemocratically against the interests of the world’s poorest people but to finally deliver trade justice. We will not give up until this victory is won.

We have met the enemy, and he is us. We populate the countries, rich and poor. We choose to support or at least tolerate the political leaders. Often we are leaders, whether we realize it or not.

I refuse to look to countires or political leaders for the solutions to our problems. I refuse to wait for institutions to repair the havoc my sin has wrought. I begin with me. I turn to God and throw myself upon his mercy.
I pray that he will use me to glorify him.
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