Saturday, August 17, 2013

What does it mean to be holy?


The day does not start well. Joe and the gang (los Rodriguez) are still there when I arrive. Need to get them up and moving. Sean is still hooked up and occupying a lot of space near Barney Greengrass. Rob is back and very hard to rouse. The steps may finally be defeating me. 

Pat is in to volunteer taking over some of Danielle’s duties while she’s away. Rob comes in and does a lot of clean up. And wants to talk. A lot. I’m having a hard time getting past the do rag. On a nearly shaven head white guy, well, just looks weird...almost unsettling.

An African-American guy who frequently comes in drops by. I don’t mind seeing him because the relationship is not about money. He says , I just need to ask, What does it mean to be holy? I say, Now that’s a big one, but start with Micah 6:8:
He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

And then remember what Jesus said in Matthew 22: 
36 Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? 37 Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Take care of that and then come back. We’ll talk. He seems happy Pat seems impressed. I always enjoy it whne someone from the congregation gets a tate of what itis likemhere on a day to day basis.
RL’s still trying to get the scaffolding out of the chapel. 
I come back after the Palestine Film Festival. Deeply disturbed. Tonight’s  film was Paradise Now. It takes you into the lives of two suicide bombers. And makes it clear that it’s not about fanatic religious fantasies of virgins, etc. It helps you to understand what constant  humiliation and denial of dignity doss to a people. Does to people. And how suicide bombing might actually be a rational strategic response. That’s what is scary. When it begins to make sense. 
And after all, our understanding of terrorism is so naive. And self-deluded. What makes Israel’s bombing of civilian targets not terrorism? And a week after the  anniversary, what about our a-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?  That immediately incinerated nearly a quarter of a  million Japanese people. And sowed the seeds of decades  of subsequent radiation caused cancer deaths.the vast majority of victims innocent civilians. Terror? If not, why not?
In the end, you can say this works. For oppressed  peoples with little money, few resources and little  hope, it works.  It makes the powerful feel vulnerable. Cost effective, you might say.
And what really hurts me is 3 billion  a year in US aid to Israel! Three billion.That’s what funds confiscatory land grabs. And the helicopters that drop in on villages and the bombers  and...we’re paying for it...not the Israelis. Our tax dollars. Can't get this out of my  head. Without our money, they couldn't do it. I’ve beeninvolved in this for almost forty years. It doesn’t get better. Perhaps if we could understand  suicide bombers not as religious fanatics but as normal people driven to extremes we’d have a beginning place to talk...As long as we don’t, we’ll never get there.

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