Tuesday, April 21, 2009

to be possessed

If the Gerasene demoniac [Mark 5] was able to come into his right mind, if, as I sense to be the case, we gay people are, despite all the odds, on the threshold of being able to talk among friends, at home, in our right minds, this is because the demoniac has indeed, and at last genuinely, been possessed. Possessed by the Spirit that was within the man who walked up the shore of Gerasa. What had been outside the demoniac as one who talked to him is now within him as the heart of the Creator who longs with a passionate and visceral longing for us to be free, and rejoices in nothing so much as our quiet, gentle contamination of each other with the first hints of that longing, translated into the first stutters of a right mind.
James Alison, Faith Beyond Resentment: Fragments Catholic and Gay, New York: Crossroad, 2001. 143

war & prayer

In times of war, our leaders always speak of their prayers. They wish us to know that they say prayers because they wish us to believe that they are deeply worried and that they take their responsibilities seriously. Perhaps they believe or hope that prayer will help. But within the circumstances of war, prayer becomes a word as befuddled in meaning as liberate or order or victory or peace. These prayers are usually understood to be Christian prayers. But Christian prayers are made to or in the name of Jesus, who loved, prayed for, and forgave his enemies and who instructed his followers to do likewise. A Christian supplicant, therefore, who has resolved to kill those whom he is enjoined to love, to bless, to do good to, to pray for, and to forgive as he hopes to be forgiven is not conceivably in a situation in which he can be at peace with himself. Anyone who has tried to apply this doctrine to a merely personal enmity will be aware of the enormous anguish that it could cause a national leader in wartime. No wonder that national leaders have ignored it for nearly two thousand years.
Wendell Berry. Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community, "Peaceableness Toward Enemies," 84-85. (text rediscovered via Thinking About It All ... thanks!)