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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Violence: Impotence’s Holy Wrath


The alabaster city gleams
Beneath the clear spring sun
And cherry blossoms, pink and white,
Snow down where joggers run.

The White House and the Hill seem clean
As though all here were good,
But dross and glory both meet here,
Iron men, and men of wood.

Yet nations are but man grown large
And in each of us dwells
A little bit from Heaven caught
And also some from Hell.

So when the quorum bell rings out
And votes cause you to fear,
Remember that these are our own
And that we placed them here.

(From Time and the Kite by Andrew H. Hines, Jr.)

Violence is all around us and takes many forms. Rape is a form of violence; it is an escape from the fear of impotency. But so also are bitter votes cast in Congress. We need not look disapprovingly at others in condemnation of violence; we need look no further than ourselves. One of the most common forms of violence is a flagrant disregard of reality. We can feel helpless before it, so lash out in resentful rebellion. Violence is a thrust of self-affirmation arising from a sense of desperation and despair. In acts of violence, hope always takes a back seat to fulminations of wrath—a surrogate of it.

God has attempted to help mankind by establishing the institutions of family, government, and the church. These institutions serve to help structure and formalize paths to potency. The government, for example, has a department of justice. It is designed to curb feelings of impotence and channel it into judicial processes of justice. Family is designed to nurture a sense of competence and acceptance while the Church nurtures a sense of transcendental worthiness.

My prayer today is that with the help of these institutions and disciplines of love we come to better understand that God is merciful and creative and does not simply mirror man’s destructive ejaculations of wrath.

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