By: Sarah Lynne Gershon
Resurrection Sunday is usually a day of celebration. Churches around the world rejoice in the raising of Jesus Christ, singing songs of death defeating Death and breaking fast with indulgent food, but I have not been swept up in this rejoicing. As I reflect on this day I have felt strongly led into a spirit of confession and repentance. I must confess to you that I don't really believe in the resurrection. I don't believe that life has conquered death, that love overcomes fear, or in the power of the Spirit of God to overcome injustice. Likewise, I suspect that the vast majority of USAmerican Christians, particularly the white majority, don't believe in it either. Our faith is weak, and we regularly betray our professed faith in both our personal and political lives.
Easter is a day of celebration, but I cannot participate in a celebratory farce when so many USAmerican Christians cast their ballots for fear: embracing a delusional sense of physical security rather than offering refuge to tormented Syrians, choosing misguided economic security rather than camaraderie with undocumented immigrants, engaging in war, death, and oppression with the pretense of peace and justice.
By: Brenna Cussen Anglada
The epic movie “Reds” is based on the lives of the American socialist, journalist, and revolutionary Jack Reed (the only American to be buried at the Kremlin) and his wife and fellow writer, Louise Bryant. While the movie focuses heavily on the tumultuous and romantic relationship of the two characters, it also chronicles how Reed, along with his contemporary Emma Goldman, first ardently supported, and then became disillusioned by, the Bolshevist revolution in Russia. Watching the movie again last week, I was struck how this theme seems to play itself over and over in human history: passionate and well-meaning revolutionaries try to bring justice to the world—either through structural change, or violence, or both—but despite their best intentions, the institutions of power, in one form or another, ultimately prevail. Today there are social movements all around the globe attempting to bring about a better world—from voting in the “right” president or working through the international community, to blowing up buildings, buses, bridges, and dams or picking up arms and starting a rebellion. Behind all of these efforts exists compelling enthusiasm, righteousness, energy, and a willingness to sacrifice lives—both their own and others—for the sake of the cause. While I understand and often support the basic motivation of these activists (to ease suffering and restore justice) I find myself wary of the fundamental lack of hope their actions belie. Like for the characters in “Reds,” their admirable desire to create a perfect world eventually turns into desperation, because they believe that if they don’t do it, nobody will, and if justice is not achieved here on earth, it will never be achieved.
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