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Friday, April 10, 2009


Our church's Lenten Bible study this year was about the Apostles' Creed. It was a yeasty conversation over topics such as the representation of God as Father. One part reads "I believe in the...forgiveness of sins". By that, one might assume God forgiving sins, but I think it also has as much to do with us forgiving the sins/debts/trespasses (to site another well-known Christian prayer) of each other.

Today being Good Friday, I'm also reminded of Ruby Bridges, a six-year old black girl who desegregated the schools in New Orleans in November 1960, who you will recognize from a famous painting by Norman Rockwell. To survive the attacks she received daily as she walked to school, and where only one of her white teachers would teach her, she said a prayer which her mother had taught her. Robert Coles, then the child psychiatrist who volunteered to work with Ruby and her family, asked her one day what she was mumbling as she walked through that crowd. She famously told him she was saying this prayer, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." This of course echoes one of the seven last words of Jesus on the cross.

Thus, it is in that spirit that I have decided that I need to forgive someone. It has to be someone for whom I have had a great deal of enmity in the past, lest it not be meaningful. So, I've decided to forgive George W. Bush.

I forgive George W. Bush for:
*gutting environmental initiatives
*instituting a wide variety of surveillance programs
*signing the USA (so-called)PATRIOT Act (H.R. 3162)
*the unjustified invasion of Iraq in 2003
*the poor handling of the Hurricane Katrina crisis
*the lack of fiscal regulations that has led to the current recession
*and all the rest of it

Understand, I haven't forgotten. But I'm doing this for me, not for him. I need to let go of my anger.

Maybe someday I'll even forgive his vice-president - or maybe not. Certainly, I'm not there yet.



Rebecca Hickman said...

Have a peaceful holiday weekend.

W's a hard one to forgive, but I'll give it a stab.

Makes me think of that line in Fiddler on the Roof:

"Is there a blessing for the Czar?"
"Yes. God bless the Czar and keep him away from us." (or something like that.)

Anthony said...

For whatever weird reason, I like to think about different judgment day scenarios, and in one of them I imagine God saying "all who want to may enter my kingdom. You must, however, be willing to embrace everyone else who lives here." Initially everyone is quite happy to hear the good news, but then it dawns on various people that their enemies will be there, perhaps people who have hurt them, and suddenly heaven isn't looking so good. For these people it becomes an intolerable idea that God should offer such forgiveness, and so they excuse themselves and actually choose to join the community of hell, where at least they don't have to submit to the insufferable work of reconciling with their enemies.

Of course, the hitch in all this, is I often wonder how much I am like these people who are put off by God's unconditional love towards our enemies.