Thursday, July 19, 2012

This I Pray

on pop theology, philosophy, theology, culture, pop culture, christianityOur lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

by Ben Howard

If you've been following the news at all for the last few months you'll be familiar with the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State. There is no defense for the actions committed by Sandusky or for the coverup allegedly perpetrated by Penn State officials including head coach Joe Paterno. It is nothing less than a tragedy and it should be recognized as such.

It's only natural in circumstances like these to feel a profound sense of injustice. Even if the perpetrators are punished to the fullest extent of the law it will seem a hollow victory. The crimes in question are too horrific, the violation of trust too deep and too painful. The emotion of the crime and subsequent coverup overwhelms the limits of punitive justice and it isn't fair, it won't be.

In this search for an elusive justice and a sense of catharsis it becomes easier and easier to embrace hate and assign blame. In the Penn State scandal in particular there is no shortage of possible villains, yet in this hunt for retribution we, as a society, run the risk of dehumanizing those we condemn.

We hope to find peace in destruction. We hope to find release in revenge and retaliation. Maybe if one more person is held responsible, maybe if one more lawsuit is filed, maybe if one person serves time behind bars, it will somehow fill the void. I fear, however, that all they bring us is the emptiness that comes from trying to fill the hole of our injustice with the pain and sorrow of others.

I don't know what to say to the victims. I can't begin to understand the pain, isolation, confusion and frustration that comes with something as horrific as this. I can't say it'll all be better. It's senseless and brutal and wrong and I do not know what will make it better. I can only pray that with love and time redemption is possible in all things.

I pray the same thing for those responsible. I can't begin to understand the reasons for such actions, but to quote one of my favorite songs, “Not to undermine the consequence, but you are not what you do.” The divine spark still exists and God is a God of redemption and hope in the midst of the depths.

I pray for reconciliation and redemption, for love and the ability to heal, for peace and for hope.


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1 comment:

  1. I do think that maybe we can learn some lessons from this though. Maybe we shouldn't demonize, and only forgiveness and reconciliation will make this better, but I do think that lessons can be learned from such situations (if possible). Nothing should ever be idolized so much that people cower at exposing injustice from fear of retribution, and I think that organized sports has become such an idol in our culture that the actions were allowed to continue on for decades before anything was done. For example, if Sandusky had been a business professor, do you think the actions would have continued on so unabated? I don't know. We've covered the implicit complications of the entire ordeal, but I hope some sort of changes will be made in college athletics for the better.