Launching the new blog, today has kept me pretty busy, but I wanted to point your attention to two particularly good pieces on the portal, today — both of them looking at heroes and faith and their effects on society.
Citing The Holy Courage of Martin Luther King, Jr. Lisa Mladinich writes:
He was radical in the best sense. He didn’t just want to elbow the unworthy racist aside to take what was rightfully owed him or to declaim, deplore, and destroy.
He didn’t seek revenge. He sought something far more dangerous, and he knew it. He wanted to live with his “white brother,” now enlightened and redeemed; to know him, help him, and love him. In spite of his human foibles, the young minister’s heart bore the greatness of a truly Christian spirit. So it’s no surprise that the serpents’ nest his movement stirred attacked him without mercy.
Yet, in the best sense, even death did not stop him.
I say this all the time: everybody suffers. But if we try to do something holy, we will at least suffer meaningfully. . . [in] radical trust, we open to a flood of graces that bind our spiritual wounds, reconcile us to each other, and give us a precious glimpse of heaven’s light, right here in the darkness of our earthly lives.
You’ll want to read it all and watch the videos.
On the heels of that, Max Lindenman takes a page from Joan of Arc in looking, very thoughtfully, at the socio-political impact of the Tim Tebow phenomenon:
Yesterday in the Atlantic . . Robert Wright [warned] non-religious people, especially those he calls “liberals,” that “dissing” Tebow is a bad idea…because it might make them really mad. Extreme “religious conservatives,” who “consider themselves to be at war with the prevailing culture,” will take cracks against Tebow as cues to “reject the entire liberal agenda, ranging from gay rights to uncensored science education in the public schools.” Liberals, he advises, should be as discreet regarding the Broncos QB as the Jyllands-Posten wasn’t regarding Muhammad, prophet of Islam.
If it needs saying, there’s plenty wrong with what Wright writes, both in his premise and in his conclusions. Religious conservatives don’t simply consider themselves at war with the prevailing culture; they’re quite convinced the prevailing culture is at war with them. . .Nothing anyone says against Tim Tebow will do anything but confirm them in that sense of being under siege. No bone tossed him in the form of tactful silence will do anything to disabuse them of it. At Verdun, the Germans couldn’t have gotten the French to fight any less fiercely by agreeing not to draw mustaches on posters of Joan of Arc.
That’s not meant to sound cute. For a France that had been invaded and partly occupied, Joan symbolized divinely ordained resistance. The religious right craves symbols of its own. [. . .] The fact that I’m thinking about it now is a good example of what Robert Wright should really be afraid of. As outrageous criticism provokes outraged defense, pundits start discovering signs and omens. If they do it well enough, even behind-the-curve people like me start thinking, “Wow, I guess Tim Tebow and the Benedictines have a lot in common after all. Must have been the grease paint that threw me.” The danger isn’t that attacks on our boy will make Christians vindictive, but that — as his name and image go increasingly viral — he might inspire us, even without meaning to.
Yes, go read it all, and pass it around. Pass ‘em both around.
Everyday, things seem to become both clearer and more murky. That’s when symbols become necessary and the demand for heroes brings people into prominence.
We live in interesting times.