Brooks was here so was red
However, bringing this metaphor out of the script and into the present causes me great trouble. Certainly there are times in our collective, societal mhyakkendana-hashigozake.com that we can recall such real-life stories of hope triumphing over despair. This past week, as we honored the 50th anniversary of The March on Washington, we were served a wonderful reminder of such an account of hope overcoming overwhelmingly negative odds. However, as Syrian children are gassed in senseless acts of violence, broken systems of democracy exclude the rights and voices of the poor and hungry, and Bangladeshi buildings crash to the ground claiming the lives of thousands and declaring the ultimate reign of horrific and inhumane forms of global capitalism, I find the metaphor to be broken, or at least, misleading. It is not the fact that hope cannot overcome injustice that gives me trouble, for I suppose, in certain times it can and does. Rather it is the perceived simplicity of the choice and subsequent nullification of circumstance and complexity that causes a gag reflex to well up inside of me.
As theologians and citizens of the world in the twenty-first century, it is our responsibility to introduce a third character into the room, one that meticulously and responsibly presents hope while also being accountable to the devastating particularities of modern circumstances. This character must stand firmly at the same crossroads of hope and despair, where Brooks and Red once stood, and reject the futility of blindly embarking down either road. And in doing such, this character must creatively re-shape and re-imagine faith, hope, and love.
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As the leaders of America meet on Capitol Hill this very minute to discuss the use of force in Syria, this metaphor deserves at least a moment of thought, especially from those who follow the way and example of Jesus Christ. Surely Christianity has more to offer the world than bombs, which only lead to the perpetuation of violence, and flimsy hymns of metaphorical hope which only fall flat as tears pour onto breathless children.