An Appointment With Indifference

An Appointment With Indifference July 11, 2016

On Facebook, Diana Butler Bass shared the following words of pastor Jeremy Rutledge:

A black man lay

at the side

of the road

and we looked

the other way

passed by

like a priest

with somewhere

else to be

walked on

like a Levite

who had

an appointment

with indifference.

It didn’t

happen

to us

we thought

but someone else

in Ferguson

Baltimore

or Baton Rouge.

A police officer lay

at the side

of the road

and we looked

the other way

passed by

like a priest

callous to

the sacrifice

walked on

like a Levite

with something

else on his mind.

That’s his job

we thought

he knew

the risk.

A gay woman lay

at the side

of the road

and we looked

the other way

passed by

like a priest

walked on

like a Levite

What can we do?

we asked

It couldn’t

have been predicted

we pretend

not in a country

overflowing

with guns

and anger

deeply dehumanizing

rhetoric

and our worship

of individual

whims

and prejudices.

A child lay

at the side

of the road

a schoolteacher

lay there

a moviegoer

a shopper

a veteran

a retiree

a brother

a sister

a friend

a colleague

lay at the side

of the road

and America

looked the other way

passed by

walked on

failing to imagine

it differently

failing to believe

in something better

failing to revere

the lives

we are given

and the life

of every last

one of us.

Weekly

we pass them

on the way

to church

where we tell stories

and ask

the question

whose answer

we already know:

but who is

my neighbor

if not every

black man

and police officer

and child

we see?

And what is

my response

if not to stop

looking

the other way.

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  • John MacDonald

    “failing to revere
    the lives
    we are given”

    I liked the choice of the word “revere” here, and the plethora of connotations it suggests.