Evil vs. Normal

Reading yesterday an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, I came across this beautiful line. “… the disquieting reality is that the conflict was between not good and evil, but good and normal. The brute racism that today seems like mass social insanity was a “way of life” practiced by ordinary “good” people.”   The concept that the battle lies not in the good vs. the evil but in the good vs. the normal deserves attention!

Normalcy held for centuries slavery was justified, even justified by the bible. Much of Christian apologetics for slavery arose from such renowned seminaries as those located at Harvard and Princeton.  And yet we look back on that time and the Civil Rights battle that ensued in the 1960′s …. just a few generations removed …. and see racism largely as a period of “mass social insanity.”

And what does normalcy hold as justified today that we will look back on …. a few generations removed ….and see in that same light?

I have hints about what those issues might be but not sure, predictive knowledge.   And this is what I think I know.  The role of a church is to continue to speak to the world and those marginalized in it.  The role of a church, prophetically, is to offer, as is often said, painful rebuke and unwavering hope, a critique that MUST start with healthy self criticism.  The role of a church is to consistently point towards love and the knowledge that grows from that place.  As Emanuel Swedenborg noted over 200 years ago, “Anyone who lives a life of love for others knows EVERYTHING there is to know about faith.”  (Heavenly Secrets 1798)  Amen to that brother!

 

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