Sunday, December 11, 2011

We Ought to be Ashamed, part 2

I think I said some things in my last post that I didn't quite mean to say. You'll have to forgive me--by the time I finished "We Ought to be Ashamed" I was shaking so badly I was having trouble typing. This wasn't out of anger, it was out of dread. I really don't mind having unpopular opinions--it's sharing them that takes the wind out of me. End result: I didn't sleep a wink last night, and now I'm here issuing retractions I spent all night thinking up. Yes, I could just edit the original post, but I don't really like making corrections that cover my own tail. I'd much rather say that I got some stuff wrong with as much humility as I can muster.

First, I sincerely hope I didn't imply that Rachelle Grimmer was not responsible for her actions because of the duress the family was under. No matter how desperate circumstances are, there's no excuse for holding up a welfare office for seven hours, then shooting your two children and yourself. This doesn't mean I don't feel pity for her and her situation. Things got awful and the worst possible choice was made. I believe her children Ramie and Timothy are playing at the feet of the Theotokos, as is the end for all children who die too soon. As for Rachelle, pray God have mercy on her and forgive her just as you pray God has mercy on you and forgives you.

Second, I think I may have come across as blaming Society and The Government for what happened. This was not my intention because blaming society and the government means, essentially, "I blame everyone but myself." Not that they're without fault. What kind of society is so germophobic that restaurant crews have to throw out leftover food rather than giving it to the poor? What kind of government throws its neediest citizens under the bus in favor of more profitable lobbies? The more important question I wanted to ask was this: What kind of people let a member of the group go so woefully without in a land of plenty? Looking back on our time in Marfa, I see this more clearly--a town of 2000 people divided into three groups: the art contingent, the tourism contingent, and the poor. The threat remains that the more affluent (like, oh I don't know, me) will eventually drive out the poor who have lived there for generations just so we can have our own little slice of paradise in the West Texas desert. The fact that I only talked to the rich Anglos and never to the poor Hispanics isn't society's fault or the government's fault--it's my fault.

Finally, I think I caused all the confusion by trying to express my theological beliefs un-theologically. Two things I gleaned from church inspired my thinking. One is the Orthodox belief that only animals do the will of God, and the extent to which they do evil (killing each other, spreading disease, etc.) is not their fault but our's because of the Fall. The other thing is what our priest always says on Forgiveness Sunday (the first Sunday of Lent): We go around the church asking each other's forgiveness because our sins hurt everyone, not just those who seemed to be hurt directly. He often cites the example that Hitler's sins affect everyone, whether directly touched by him or not. So I may have not explained it well, but that's why I believe we're all responsible for the heartbreaking poverty I talked about in the original post. Mankind brought sin into the world, and this is one of the many forms it's taking.

I want to say more, but this post has already gone on longer than I wanted. I'll harp on later.

No comments: