I am struck most by the silence as a response to deep anxiety, my own in particular. Sure, I’m linking, posting, maybe a pointed remark in my classroom. But outside, I’m slipping between public spaces. I want to disrupt hate and fear but the ground for resistance is unstable and I want to be ‘effective’.
My neighbors are deciding what they might do from within their own sense of vulnerability. C, down the block, no longer celebrating his victory, no longer looks me in the eyes as we pass on the road. It’s not what he wanted, he desired disruption, not devastation.
Next door, A & J are making space for a friend’s children, friends who expect to be deported and are seeking space for their children, adolescent’s who have Ohio as their only home.
Biblical prophets speak disorientation to disrupt our certainty, our reliance on fear and nostalgia as false compass points. I want to remain a neighbor, slipping through without offense. I am without any compass, no map, without orientation. Disorientation may last longer than a season, renewal and reorientation are beyond my imagination.
On Wednesday, I’ll be in New York city offering a few words as part of a day thinking about theological education and ecology, attempting to imagine a way toward the next 500 years. I’m waiting for those words.
Below I link to a poem that will offend some deeply, it came across email today, read it or don’t, but sometimes the prophet is an angry poet raging to find something true.
A Poem for the Cruel Majority
BY JEROME ROTHENBERG