Posted by: cctracker | December 10, 2014

Facing Ugly, Complex Truths the Path to Peace and Liberation

These have been months of being faced with ugly, but complicated truths in the United States, particularly in my part of the country.

Image at CNN.com

Image at CNN.com

They’re ugly because when we encounter them in pictures, video or transcriptions of witnesses, we’re confronted with one human being directly assaulting the dignity of another.

Image at Time.com

Image at Time.com

They’re complicated because these injustices and insults always occur within a context: a subtle and complex cultural, historical and institutional landscape. Exploring that larger territory, even just taking a look at the map, requires a great deal of patience and discipline. And we’re not long on those virtues in popular culture and media today. Ferguson.Magazine.Covers.000

If you happen to be favored with enough formation to appreciate at least some of the features on the ‘context map’ of these ugly truths, and you’re willing to make an effort at explaining them to someone who can’t see them (or won’t for understandable emotional and psychological reasons), it can be dispiriting, exhausting work.

Image at Stltoday.com

Image at Stltoday.com

Add to that the fact that along the way, one usually discovers his or her complicity in the ugliness. Nevertheless, this work is our only path–individually and communally–to salvation, liberation and peace.

Today’s news carries the story of how agents of our country, in all of our names, assaulted the dignity of other human beings in ways so blatant and gruesome, one would think most of us would be willing to concede immediately that they are a contradiction to our most cherished national ideals.

Image at moralallowground.com

Image at moralallowground.com

But, once again, we’re tempted to turn away from the work at hand, throw up our hands or blame a “system” that has nothing to do with us. The salvation of our individual and collective souls hangs in the balance.

Here is a magnificent, if heart-wrenching, example of what doing the necessary work looks like.

The Torture Report Reminds Us of What America Was – NYTimes.com.

In his brief essay in today’s New York Times, Eric Fair not only asks us to look at the map in order to understand how our country came to join the ranks of nations who systematically employ torture to manage their affairs, he also reminds us that until we do the hard work together of reforming the systems that create or ignore injustice, those systems can turn us–otherwise good people–into the very personal face of evil.

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