I just got back from a short trip to Denver that was tough on technology. My laptop failed, permanmently. (Sorry, Jordan, no meditation on Sunday. And I left my cellphone with the kind security folk at the DIA (and they are kind, they are mailing it back to me even as we speak).
I reread E.L. Doctorow's City of God. It's one of my favorite novels. Doctrow wrestles with the concept of God from the perspectives of several well drawn, clique-free characters.
One of those characters is the Rev. Tom Pemberton, an Epsicopelean minister who found himself in trouble for a sermon he gave. I'll give you the passage in his own words:
"Oh that's simple enough. I merely asked the congregation what they thought the engineered slaughter of the Jews in Europe had done to Christianity. To our story of Christ. I mean, given the meager response of our guys, is the Holocaust only a problem for Jewish theologians? But beyond that I asked them-- and it was big crowd that morning, and they were with me, I could feel it, after the empty pews of St. Tim's it seemed to me like Radio City-- I asked them to imagine... what mortification, what ritual, might have been a commensurate Christian response to the disaster. Something to assure us that our faith wasn't some sort of self-deluding complacency. Something to assure us of the holy truth of our story. Something as earthshaking in its way as Auschwitz and Dachau?
I read this passage and stopped noticing the Hispanic woman who, just moments ago, knocked herself out with Ambien and kept flopping her head on my shoulder. Docotrow reminded me that action, as much as information, is apologetics.
So here are my questions, to myself first, and then you: How should have the church responded to the Holocaust? And what should our response now be to Darfur?