Hm. I never thought about it that way

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Relatedly, here’s a little piece (Buzzfeed, so your mileage may vary) on what it took for people who once supported the Cult Leader to finally say, “I can’t take it any more!” and reject him.

I’m always glad to see a sinner repent and welcome anybody who turns away from this monstrous Freak Show. But I do have to wonder at some of these people and ask, “Seriously? That’s where you drew the line?”

It’s like an essay I read years ago by (I think) Orson Scott Card pointing out that, as “redemption stories” go, Star Wars is, ‘ow you say?, less than inspiring. A genocidal monster guilty of annihilating worlds finally feels a glimmer of compassion for his own flesh and blood son who is being tortured before his very eyes and does the absolute bare minimum any normal human would do for his child? That’s the big act of repentance? Mkay.

Not that I think God turns up his nose at such minimal acts. God will take the slightest movement of the soul in the right direction.

But still, not exactly Paul on the Damascus Road.

Anyway, glad to see some of the Cult are rejecting this vile crook and incompetent at last. Too bad it took a torrent of malignancy to slap them awake. Hope they vote in November and defeat this noisome, festering sinkhole of lies and corruption. Do your stuff, penitents!

Are you better off now than you were four years ago? – Ronald Reagan


21 Responses

  1. Mark, your capacity for forgiveness is bigger than mine. I, myself, will never again be friends with people who supported Trump, even if they finally turn against him now. If they want to vote against him now, well fine, I’ll let them. But we’re talking about people who were OK seeing children in cages at the border.

    1. Forgiveness is for your healing as much as for theirs. Refusal to forgive is like drinking poison and expecting the other guy to die. It achieves nothing in terms of mending the evil they have done and makes you their prisoner forever. Forgiveness is not the pretense they have repented when they have not. But it is the willingness to hope that even they may change–and to let go of the pain the have caused as much as we can. As a Christian, I do this by handing them over to God (sometimes with a physical gesture since that helps). Generally, it’s like quitting smoking. You do it thousands of time. But the day comes when you realize that you really did it and they don’t own you anymore. I am helped by the fact that Jesus puts such an enormous premium on it and warns that if I don’t, I will not be forgiven. That’s not a threat. It’s a psychological fact. The fist closed in anger *can’t* receive the love of God no matter how much He wants to give it. I give my enemy mercy for my own healing’s sake.

      1. Thank you for this explanation with forgiveness – I struggle all to often with that.

      2. Mark, sorry for bringing it up in comboxes, but I just wanted to ask if you received my recent e-mails (sent to the e-mail address on your “Contact” page). I have never received a bounceback from your mail server, but I didn’t receive any replies, either, not even a “Sorry, I’m too busy to reply,” so its seems like something is off.

      3. But what if your enemy shows no sign of recognizing his worst wrongs, much less repenting of them? Much of that reddit thread consists of people who got tired of defending Trump’s incompetent response to COVID-19. They are *still* OK with brown kids in cages at the border (which, by the way, is still happening). They will still vote for the next white supremacist available on the ballot, assuming he is more competent than Trump.
        It seems clear that my life will go better if I avoid people like that.

    2. For the most part, forgiveness is not mine to extend or withhold for Trump. I am not among those truly injured by him.

  2. The Republican establishment Romney, Mattis, John Roberts, Kelly, it looks like even Bush is turning on Trump in mass, its unprecedented

  3. I ceased to be a Republican when I entered the “real world” and found it wasn’t filled with crazed secular humanist liberals waging war on Christmas and demanding I participate in the sacrament of abortion. This was a few years before Trump, so I never voted for him.

  4. Joel, I tried to upvote what you said. This time it didn’t tell me that I don’t exist in WordPress World, it just ignored me completely, no matter how many times I pressed the star.

      1. I almost miss the nannybot now, but Patheos needs to pay their writers!! What a travesty that talent is so exploited.

  5. “It’s like an essay I read years ago by (I think) Orson Scott Card pointing out that, as “redemption stories” go, Star Wars is, ‘ow you say?, less than inspiring. A genocidal monster guilty of annihilating worlds finally feels a glimmer of compassion for his own flesh and blood son who is being tortured before his very eyes and does the absolute bare minimum any normal human would do for his child? That’s the big act of repentance? Mkay.”

    If that’s the same essay I’m thinking of, I think it was by David Brin, not Card. Anyway, it’s all a good point. That said …

    Was Anakin redeemed? Are the blue Force ghosties in Jedi Heaven? If so, where is everyone else??? If that is a communion of saints, it’s an awfully small congregation. Could it be that Anakin, Yoda, and Ben aren’t in Jedi Heaven so much as Jedi Purgatory?

    I don’t know. Honestly, the theology of STAR WARS has always been very vague. Lucas once described himself as a Buddhist Methodist, and I think that comes across pretty clear in the Episodes I – VI (the ones where Lucas had direct involvement with the story). The Jedi are very Buddhist. They take detachment to such an extreme that it has become uncaring.

    Luke: “And sacrifice Han and Leia?”
    Yoda: “If you honor what they fight for, yes!”

    Luke rightly rejects that philosophy in favor of a more Christian view. He isn’t willing to sacrifice others for his ideals, but he is willing to sacrifice himself for his friends. He takes the Buddhist view of the classic Jedi philosophy and takes it in a more decidedly Christian direction. Ben and Yoda continually try to dissuade him from trying to help his father, but Luke does not. He chooses to love.

    Anyway, my point being that the so-called “redemption of Anakin” is more complicated that it appears at first. I wish Lucas hadn’t been so timid about philosophical specifics in the movies. He purposefully left them vague to appeal to a wider audience. But such vagueness occasionally leaves the morality a bit muddled.

  6. Out small town in the midst of trumponians/conservatives vs. progressive/liberals battle. To say it is unsettling is an understatement – it has even started to raise its ugly head in our local worship site, over the removal of the Saturday night mass, favored by the trumponians and having only the Sunday morning mass usually attended by the perceived liberals. This was done because both of our priests are in the at-risk population, And we have a “unified parish of 6 sites and four worship sites, one with diabetes and the other over 65 and heart issues, to allow them to celebrate mass. As a member of our parish council I am at a loss on how to deal with the trumponians who have called me, our pastor and other members of the council – all with the same line “you have removed our tight to go to mass as we want to, to satisfy sone liberal hoax. I know what I want to say – as you can well imagine – but I have no idea what to really say. (People on the Council and our pastor “look” to me because I have served for about 10 years and across three pastors, not because I have an special skills.)
    This is what we as s country and church, have come to using our locale as a microcosm. I am more convinced that We need to think about Ehrmann’s poem Desiderata. Especially the line: Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit…

      1. There are many scattered throughout our parish and we have asked them Repeatedly to serve, only to be greeted With a resounding no. The council is to liberal so they don’t want to serve. Makes it tough.

    1. “you have removed our (r)ight to go to mass as we want to, to satisfy so(m)e liberal hoax.”

      I am sure there is some rational response you can give them. Even, perhaps, to offer an in-person meeting to discuss concerns. There may even be some compromise – e.g. arrange to receive communion in the office, but wear your masks and use hand sanitizer. But be prepared to just receive a bunch of invective in return. It’s almost as if it is more about their conspiracy theories than their sincere desire for mass.

      1. First please forgive my typing – I have had in-person meetings with these folks. They were angry because I “required” that we all wear masks, and that was me removing their freedumbs, spelling intentional in thus case. I tried to explain about the need to protect the vulnerable folks, including our two priests — That had no impact other than fir them to say, God will protect them. It was a mist frustrating meeting and highly illuminating. I think a variation on the belief in conspiracies is partially correct – I would add that they are taking their cues from the GOP, and their complaint about infringement on the First Amendment.

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