Monday, February 27, 2012

Me and Social Justice

How's my mental health today?

It's not that important at the moment. I'm more fascinated and stimulated by the exercise of reading the Old Testament (I've now moved on to Numbers) and The Narcissism Epidemic at the same time. My mind is racing down many tangential trails again.

As I read the Mosaic laws (keeping in mind the expansion and completion of the same in the New Testament) I find it impossible not to reflect on what I see, hear, and read about in our world today. From my perspective, there is no way to reconcile the current cultures and values of the so-called 'Christian' world with the teachings of Scripture and the principles our country was supposedly founded on.

The injustice, violence, hatred, bigotry, racism, selfishness, greed and corruption rampant in our society belies any reference to God in the birth and growth  of our nation. The rapidly expanding gulf between rich and poor; the lack of equitable justice; and the deficit of social conscience are a sad indictment of our country and the so-called Christian Western World.

Why is there such a push for heavy punitive action against copyright infringement, while abuses and violations perpetrated against the most vulnerable and helpless people often receive incomprehensible 'light' consequences? Why is there such a blatant disregard for the sanctity of life? (It seems just yesterday that violent disagreements were settled with fists - now knives and guns are pulled out).

While I think I understand the concept and goals of restorative justice, should not the consequences of evil and unlawful behaviour fit the crime?

Furthermore, why do so many pictures of the devastation in Haiti look no better today than it did immediately after the devastating earthquake of a few years ago? Why are so many people dying of hunger and disease in the Sudan and other African countries while our flat-screen TVs are getting larger and larger?

Are we, who have so much, doing enough to address the injustices in the world; in our own communities? Are we even aware of the needs of others; the crushing pain and suffering in our world? Are we aware of how we are benefiting from the oppression and abuse of others, the despondent, the impoverished, the disenfranchised people of our world, our country, our city, our backyard?

Am I?

It is impossible for me not to take a hard look at myself as I read the argument presented in the Narcissism Epidemic.

Am I too focused on myself and my desires? Sure I'd love to have a faster computer, a big, opulent home entertainment system, a luxurious vehicle, a lavish holiday, a 7 figure bank account, etc. Do I need them?

Am I doing enough for others? Am I prepared to do with less than I have? What am I prepared to give up? What will I give up?

In my last job, my role was primarily that of an 'agent of change'.  Has that role and responsibility changed or ended just because I'm now retired?

What am I doing to love my neighbour as myself?

Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love have, 
so to speak, pawned a part of their narcissism.
~~ Sigmund Freud 


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