…and you may or may not laugh. Your choice.
credit: Jacob, www.subtledesigner.blogspot.com
Click once or twice to enlarge.
It was shattering to admit that we had lost the theological means to distinguish between the United States and the kingdom of God. The criminals who perpetrated 9/11 and the flag-waving boosters of our almost exclusively martial response were of one mind: that the nonviolent way of Jesus is stupid.”
“On 9/11 I thought, For the most powerful, militarized nation in the world also to think of itself as an innocent victim is deadly. It was a rare prophetic moment for me, considering Presidents Bush and Obama have spent billions asking the military to rectify the crime of a small band of lawless individuals, destroying a couple of nations who had little to do with it, in the costliest, longest series of wars in the history of the United States.
“The silence of most Christians and the giddy enthusiasm of a few, as well as the ubiquity of flags and patriotic extravaganzas in allegedly evangelical churches, says to me that American Christians may look back upon our response to 9/11 as our greatest Christological defeat. It was shattering to admit that we had lost the theological means to distinguish between the United States and the kingdom of God. The criminals who perpetrated 9/11 and the flag-waving boosters of our almost exclusively martial response were of one mind: that the nonviolent way of Jesus is stupid. All of us preachers share the shame; when our people felt very vulnerable, they reached for the flag, not the Cross.
“September 11 has changed me. I’m going to preach as never before about Christ crucified as the answer to the question of what’s wrong with the world. I have also resolved to relentlessly reiterate from the pulpit that the worst day in history was not a Tuesday in New York, but a Friday in Jerusalem when a consortium of clergy and politicians colluded to run the world on our own terms by crucifying God’s own Son.”
—Will Willimon, presiding bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church
By now, on this tenth anniversary, you’ll have seen countless images of planes, towers, smoke, emergency responders, rubble—and heard audios of sirens, loudspeakers, screaming, speeches. You may have become weary and wish it would all go away, that the media would stop capitalizing on the disaster and let us heal. So I won’t post another photo of the attack.
But here is a photo that has fascinated me for nearly ten years. The photographer, Patrick Witty, simply turned around and captured the faces of dozens of people who represent every race, class and nationality.
Without evidence from the photograph itself one can deduce that something—unlike anything seen before—is in progress above the heads of the spectators. Whatever it is causes them shock, disbelief, horror, astonishment, awe, even fear—and yet they are not running from it, whatever it is. They appear not to fear for their own safety on that moment, but clearly they fear for others whom they cannot help—and they don’t understand what it will mean for the future.
This is a picture of an early response to an event. A continued response should involve prayer and work toward a healing, not a perpetuation of the cycle of terror.