"The true situation is that anything short of love cannot be perfect justice". --Reinhold Niebuhr
"A church can consequently never prove itself Christian by defending a "Christian civilization." By that very effort it becomes, as church, unchristian"--Reinhold Niebuhr
"We shall not find life by refusing to let go of our precious, protected selves".--Rowan Williams
I had a vision of a dystopian near-future, in which a number of small atomic devices detonated in major cities on the same day. I don't say that because I have some psychic insight into the future, or because I wish to gloat about the misfortunes in which we find ourselves. I mention the fact instead because as I reflected on the ghastly idea, I had a dawning sensation of sorts.
Every day people live lives filled with risks, chances and mischances. No solid-state of complacent living ever really exists. In a bigger sense, each year brings new tragedies, new challenges, new hopes, and new fears. One person dies in Darfur, another alone in a nursing home, another in the loving embrace of family. But we all die.
There is no safe, static way to confront the business of living. There is no dreamy perfect state of being to which to ascribe. One has x decades, and meets with chance or with mischance. If one has the luxury to control any aspect of one's chances, then one is fortunate indeed.
"Quite a lot of our contemporary culture is actually shot through with a resentment of limits and the passage of time, anger at what we can't do, fear or even disgust at growing old".
Perhaps this is the meaning of the tag from scripture that one who truly wishes to save one's life shall surely lose it. There's no hermetic way to avoid life rushing at one. It's a tide, blood-red scarlet, and it comes at one, and it sweeps one in and away, like twenty, forty, eighty years of flash flood.
There is no perfect solution to this living. One lives and then ceases to live, all in imperfection. Perhaps one hopes for a bit of grace as one lives the days, and perhaps a little boldness in humility.
But save us, if we are to be saved at all, from the hubris of imagining that when things are "normal", nothing can go wrong. Things go. They go wrong. That's what's normal. The grace is finding those moments of saving rightness, shooting like sunbeams through so much wrong.