Friday, October 20, 2006

Why should I fear?

I have never been gripped by this fear that seems to control American life and politics since 9/11. Part of this because on September 11, 2001, I turned on the tv, and then immediately turned to my Bible. Psalm 11 reminds God's people that we need not fear violence from outside forces. Does this mean we shouldn't defend ourselves? Of course not. But a Christian (and our president used his faith as part of his campaign platform) is called to act first in a spirit of reconciliation. Strike first and reconcile later is not what Jesus taught, and it hasn't helped us in our "War on Terror."

I realized today that another reason the attacks on the Twin Towers didn't change my world is that I don't think I was surprised that they happened. I has just moved away to college. I was alone and pretty scared, but I wasn't suprised. I grew up watching the news. I knew about the previous Gulf War, and about many of the terrorist bombings in the 90's. I also knew that people all over the world are exposed to such terror daily.

I grew up within earshot of Aberdeen proving ground. I have distinct memories of sitting in my third grade classroom and hearing test explosions for the first time. I thought we were at war. Even after someone explained what the noises were, every time I heard the noises, and every time I heard planes fly overhead, I would imagine for a moment what it would be like to be under attack. Maybe I was just weird, or maybe I was blessed with a little bit of prophetic vision.

When we moved to Earleville in 2000, I soon discovered that we were right across the Bay from Aberdeen, and that we were close enough that the explosions rattle our windows and shake the floor several times a day. I work at home a lot now, and every time I experience the effects of testing in Aberdeen, I am reminded that we live in a violent world, and that I hate bombs and oppression and war and retaliation. What good does it do to be afraid? Fear only causes wars, which inevitably (as we have seen throughout history) create new terrorist groups. Hating violence seems like a much more productive emotional response.

"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." - Yoda


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seriously think our present administration's M.O. is creating fear in people to get what they want accomplished. They always exploit some threat that's supposedly just around the corner (as if there was a time when the world was completely safe). I actually was really scared on 9/11, and I think it makes sense that people were terrified in light of that event, but it's just crazy to strike out and wage war all over the place because we're scared of some shadowy terrorist threat. It reminds me a lot of "1984," in which "the state remained perpetually at war against a vague and ever- changing enemy." It also makes me feel like the U.S. has a lot to learn from Israel, Spain, Turkey, etc., where people just go on with their lives despite the very real and frequent threat of terrorism.

BTW, I glanced at the psalm after the one you mentioned, #12, and it also seemed a bit relevant in light of current propaganda: "Men speak lies to one another; their speech is smooth; they talk with duplicity... They say, 'By our tongues we shall prevail; with lips such as ours, who can be our master?'" V.v. interesting.

Also, because I like calendar-y things, I looked up the Hebrew date for 9/11/01. It's Elul 23, which is considered the day the dove brought the olive leaf in the Noah's ark story. On the 301st day of the Flood, "the dove came in to him in the evening, and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off; and Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth." (Genesis 8:11) Which I took to mean that peace will eventually show up, although we knew that already, right?

12:27 AM  

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