Wednesday, August 01, 2007

History is our friend

I was a history major in college -- it's what my undergraduate degree is in and I have always embraced that old idea that ignorance about our history dooms us to repeat the mistakes of the past. This morning I want to add that ignorance about our history also leaves us wide open to getting sucked into the anxieties of the present.

Yes, we face challenges as we move ahead into God's future. But -- the blogs and the diatribes and the press releases and the "breaking news" and the communiques and the ultimatums notwithstanding -- if we face those challenges informed by our history we move forward not only equipped but empowered to continue to be agents of change, hope, justcie and light.

Toward that end, two quotes for an August morning:

Barbara Cawthorne Crafton:

"A community of like-minded people has no internal method of self-correction and self-examination; the most it can do is monitor conformity to unquestioned norms. The friction of argument and the energy it produces is the potent fuel of ideas, in the human community. All our intellectual progress has been accomplished by questioning assumptions. If an orthodoxy can bear such scrutiny, it remains as it was. If it cannot, it changes. So it has ever been.

A questioning mind is not the devil's work. It is one of the fruits of baptism. We pray for it at the font. That is why we have married priests, why we have women priests. It is why we have restored the ministry of deacons in the Church. It is why the disabled are not barred from serving in ordained ministry. It is why women who have recently given birth are not considered ritually unclean. It is why Christians need not observe the large and complex corpus of Jewish law. It is why the Church is very different in our century from what it was in the 19th. Or in the 16th. Or the 4th.

This is not a betrayal of principle. It is the way human beings live. We live in history as fish swim in water, and history only moves forward. The realm of God to which we look is without time, but the world in which we now live is bound to history. Eyes open, brain in gear and spirit available for instruction, we move with its current."

Martin Luther King Jr.

“The arc of history is long, but it bends toward freedom.”

So read the blogs -- keep up on the news -- but remember:


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