My Silent Obedience

Posted November 17, 2015 @ 2:30pm | by Tripp

My heart is heavy. I'm sitting here in my office at the seminary trying wrap my mind around what is the clear and present danger of the military trajectory of NATO and others against ISIS. I am watching my social media streams come undone over arguments over the Syrian refugee crisis and perceptions of national security. The rhetoric is more and more excited or extreme as people seek the limelight of viral status. Hashtaggery abounds. Retweets abound. Facebookistan is a noisey place.

My friend and colleague, Jennifer Davidson, posted on our faculty blog.

“Jesus, son of David, have mercy on Baghdad! Have mercy on Paris! Mend broken hearts! Have mercy on Minnesota! Bring truth to light! Have mercy on Oakland! Help us dismantle white supremacy! Have mercy on Palestine! Liberate the captives! Have mercy on Israel! Heal the wounded! Have mercy on Kenya! Comfort those who mourn! Have mercy on Syria! Have mercy on Berkeley! Give us the courage to confront unjust systems. Have mercy on us! Have mercy on me! Have mercy on us! Loosen the chains. Have mercy. Have mercy.”

My boss, Dean LeAnn Snow Flesher, pointed me to Omid Safi's piece.

I'm sitting here wondering how I might be a better human being, a better example of how one contributes to the chaos of online discourse while still maintaining my sanity.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered

People are afraid. They are afriad of what they do not know and what they think they do know. About ISIS. About liberals. About conservatives. The Election Cycle promises to feed on this fear for some time to come.

All I want to do is listen to music, to play with my son, to hold my wife, and write my dissertation. More and more I am convinced that "listening as an act of love" is not just some semiotician's dream, but a virtue of life together that needs attention.

And it demands my silent obedience.

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