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Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Good Old Days of Indulgent Ignorance

The prophets often see the image of God living in the midst of a peaceful city. Why hasn’t it come to pass? Do you think we humans are called to build the “beautiful city,” or is that a job only for God? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1207).

Why do our “cities on a hill” seem to leach so much pollution? We do our best, but that is never enough. Partly of course it is due to the nature of things. We cannot control so many elements in our lives – the forces of nature are an obvious example. The other element is that we have not learned to embed true costs within products – especially social products. Injustice is typically focused on victims and individual perpetrators out of desperation for we know not how to calculate and assign the true cost of injustice. The task has been too large for us, but perhaps with time the necessary tools will be invented to make such huge and subtle data crunching possible. In the meantime, we rely on free choice (as pitifully fictitious as it is) to be the byword of justice. 

I speak of justice because in the peaceful cities of God justice always flows like never-ending streams of water. Some of us comfortable with exhortations of free choice and its many victims may find the factored cost of true justice not to our liking. The “shining city on a hill” may find us paying taxes, fines and fees and yearning for the good old days of indulgent ignorance.

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