Wednesday, July 04, 2012

indendence: a sinister beginning

Richard Rohr says it so well:

In the biblical tradition, the power on the Right and the power on the Left are symbolized by the kings and the prophets, respectively. There is almost a necessary tension and even opposition between them. There is only one time in all the Hebrew Scriptures that those two ever made friends, and then only barely. That is when David the King accepted the critique of Nathan the prophet, after Nathan accused him of his sinfulness and David had the humility to say that he was correct: “I have sinned against the Lord” (see 2 Samuel 12).

The Right always considers itself the product of rationality, experience and civilization. The people on the Left are always the product of these “silly” people’s movements arising out of high-minded ideology, unbearable injustices, or both. Neither of these currents is totally rational (even the Supreme Court disagrees on what is rational). Movements from the Left are normally not well-planned at the beginning. They are intuitive and come from what is suffered by the little people, who at that point are of no account and have no press or status. Thus they rely on symbols, songs, slogans, and momentary charismatic leaders to get off the ground. Remember when white people laughed at black people for singing, “We Shall Overcome”? Today we can remember those naive English colonists on the East Coast of America who said “No taxation without representation.” The pattern is always the same: “kings” (power) versus “prophets” (truth).

Richard Rohr

Adapted from
A Lever and a Place to Stand, pp. 97-98

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