I learned a new word last week: Theodicy. It means the vindication of divine goodness in view of the existence of evil.
Today is the twelve year anniversary of the Word Trade Center plane crashes, and I feel theodicy fits perfectly with many of us of faith who stake our lives on God’s goodness and love even in the face of events like 9/11.
It was my junior year of college, and I just woke up from a great night’s sleep in my new loft apartment. I got some cereal, turned on the TV and ten seconds later saw the second plane crash into the Towers. I have relatives living only a few blocks away from the Towers, and my thoughts immediately went to them. No one in my family could get a hold of them for some time, but we eventually made contact. Thank God they were all out of their apartment at the time.
And their apartment? The entire high-rise was condemned. All of their windows were blown out, their stuff ruined, and the city had to relocate them for a few years. All of us on the outside have one way or the other felt the direct horror of 9/11; though my relatives account is so much more than I could even muster.
There is evil in this world–some would even say that evil are those who are religious. But religion is not inherently evil.
Not the Muslim faith the terrorists claim to represent.
Not the Christian faith that its extremists promote either.
Culture has gotten away from us; a society where headlines and extremism is promoted as acceptable. Even more so, extremism, whether good or bad, is the only way one can make headlines.
But life is not that simple.
There is nuance in everything, no matter how much partisan activists, the media and especially social media have tried to strip it away into constrained binaries.
If life is to change for the better, the way all American citizens envisioned our society at its best on 9/12, 9/13, 9/14, etc, then we must all start reclaiming the most needed variable to connecting with our other:
A worldview of love that clearly understands that there is difficulty based in nuance, in every situation.
Invest today into something worthwhile; something promoting the characteristics of who we know we can be. Anything else is a betrayal of what we all knew was our greatest potential twelve years ago.