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Sunday, September 11, 2011


I wasn't going to post anything about 9/11 because my feelings about it are so mixed up and I fear atypical. But some posts I saw today have encouraged me to write a few words. The posts - Reflections on the 9/11 Commemoration: Mourning for Whom, for What? at Bilgrimage ... Remembering September 11, 2001 at Feminist Philosophers ... Together on September 11 at Jerusalem Hills daily photo.

Two of my mixed up feelings on this:

One is that I don't think we should "mythologize" what happened. Terrorism and violence had been happening to everybody all the time around the world - it was just our turn. I once read a novel with an account of the Dizengoff Street bus bombing - there were only 22 victims but reading about slivers of people being picked up with tweezers by Rabbis to be saved for burial really made an impression. Violence to others is bad, no matter how many victims or who they are.

The other thing is that all around religious blogdom I've seen posts about 9/11 and forgiveness. It's not surprising, given this week's gospel reading of the parable in which we're told that if we don't forgive those who owe us a debt, God won't forgive our debts (and will send us off to the torturers - yikes!). But maybe I'm just a bad Christian because when I see those familiar headlines in the news - 'parents of murdered girl forgive her killer' - I'm not inspired, I'm incredulous. I'm a pacifist, I'm against revenge and war and the death penalty, etc., and I think I can understand why people participate in terrorism, given the inequalities in the world. But I can't (or maybe just don't want to) forgive it.


Blogger Mike L said...

Perhaps the 9/11 events have been overplayed for political reasons. Or maybe it was the shock of having this happen in the US instead of someplace else. Whatever it hooked the American emotions.

As for forgiveness, I have watched people destroyed by anger and hate when they have not found their way to forgiveness. These people give free rent in their own heads to those they will not forgive and can never be free of the pain and hurt they have suffered.

I forgive because I want to get on with my life as best I can, and not be burdened with hauling unneeded baggage around with me.


Mike L

6:29 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Mike :)

What is forgiveness? Is it a pragmatic letting go of stuff that will only make you miserable anyway, or is it liking the offending person again in the way you did before they hurt you? If it's the former, I can sometimes do that, but I have trouble with the second thing.

7:05 PM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

At our neighboring parish, one of the prayers offered today was the hope that we would work to eliminate the conditions that make a fertile ground for terrorism.

For me, I think of a more equal world, better opportunities for education & healthcare in poorer countries, a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict--those kinds of solutions. What our government pursued was removal of the Taliban, destruction of the Al Queda training camps, the assassination of Bin Laden -- those kinds of solutions.

The former can bring peace and reconciliation between our people and the Arab world. The latter never will -- only the peace of the graveyard.

I like what Mike said -- trying to move on. Forgiveness shouldn't mean giving the person who hurt you access to your body and soul.

Those Sunday readings are very uncomfortable -- I think that's a good thing.

9:14 PM  
Blogger Dina said...

Shalom Crystal, yeah, I know what you mean. I had the hardest time getting started on a post about the day. Sometimes the heart is too heavy to write.

11:03 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Denny,

I know that imequality can lead to violence, but why is it that some people will react to poverty and hopelessness with violence and others won't - not all poor and disadvantaged people, even angry ones, will somehowcome to believe indescriminate killing of strangers is ok. When those same people who blow others up finally get whatever it is they want, are they going to turn into nice people?

11:25 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Dina,

Yes, I guess there are no easy answers to all this and it's hard for me to figure out even what I think and feel, much less what's right.

11:28 PM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Hi again Crystal --

No, I agree they won't -- become good and nice. Always allowing for the possibility of conversion, I think most of those folks are ruined for good. But let's not continue to grow them -- let's try to change the culture.

Actually, my wife Joan works at that. See

5:57 PM  
Blogger crystal said...


Oh, that's an interesting organization where your wife works - it looks like it does a lot of good work. I remember you mentioning that she worked to stop sex abuse of kids, but I see it's a broader program than just that.

6:54 PM  

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