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Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Ch 2 Beyond Victimhood

Ch 2 Beyond Victimhood
In chapter 2 of Richard Rohrs Hope Against Darkness he touches on the concept of victimhood as it relates to us in the postmodern world of today. I feel like he makes some very valid points concerning church and spirituality and what the purpose is of both.

He writes that "spirituality in its best sense is about what you do with your pain." Rohr believes that we do not know what to do with our pain. We have moved away from the image of God as the taker of our pain. He writes "When a people no longer knows that God is, God is good, God can be trusted and God is on your side, we frankly have a very serious problem." Now I like that sentence and I like both what it says right out front but I also like its deeper meaning. When I read it my first thought is that the reason people feel this way isn't Gods fault. It is the churchs fault for all of their failings. What I find most interesting is that as I read further into CH 2 I begin to understand that I am doing just what Rohr is talking about as it relates to Victimhood.

I am taking the percieved slights that I have experienced at church and using that to give me a reason to move away from God. It isn't that God has failed me or really that the church has failed me. But, being an institution that so often has man at its core as opposed to God it really has no choice but to be inconsistant and to fail. Failure is the single thing that man does well. God is consistent, God is there, God does love us. I think the problem begins when we put our faith in the church and not in God. When we put our faith in the rules of each particular denomination as opposed to focusing on what God and by extension Jesus, or the other way around, wants from us.

Back to Rohr and Victimhood before I get to far afield and become entranced by the sound of my own voice. Rohr notes that in todays world people are using being a victim to gain some sort of moral high ground. Often to achieve sypathy from others one only has to claim that so and so's great-grandmother did something to hurt their great-grandmother and then the cycle of recriminations begins. I think he again is making a very valid point here.

He writes "Playing the victim is an effective way of getting moral high ground without doing any moral development whatsoever. You don't have to grow up, you don't have to let go, you don't have to forgive, you don't have to surrender all the things that great religion deemed necessary. Now you just have accuse somebody else of being worse then are, or of being a member of a race or group that is worse then yours, and that makes you feel like you're good, moral, or superior."

I see this everyday. Not only in my own life as it relates to how I think about church or politics or the world in general but also all around us. Today I read a blog that was condemming Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll and his use of language when he preaches. Now I am not a fan of Mark Driscoll and I have commented on him in the past. But what I find most interesting is that what this blogger is using as the beginning point for his attack on Driscoll is that his wife was listening to the radio and a sermon of Driscolls came on and he used some words that were objectionable to both the blogger and his wife and both were concerned that their young children were subjected to these terms. I think that is a reasonable concern and that is something that most parents are concerned about. But the blogger takes the position of being a victim of Driscolls language and now he must stand up and fight against this great evil.

I think that if Jesus were to play the victim card we would have never been saved. We must forgive and if we continually play the victim card then we will never reach the point of being able to forgive. There is much more in the chapter but to me the inherited victimhood passage really stood out to me. It spoke to me about the need to move beyond my being a victim and to be able to forgive those who have hurt me.

Rohr closes the chapter with this " the cross calls all of us to a mystery of transformation. On the cross none of us is in charge, none of us is in control, none of us can possibly understand, just like Jesus himself. On the cross someone else is in control. Someone else is in charge. Someone else understands. Someone else is obviously a much more patient lover then we are."

That is something to think about.

Origin: magical-poetry.blogspot.com