- Bitterness of soul arises from words, seeming too sharp for speech, that ferment in the mute dark. Would speech be the uncorking that releases thoughts to the open air and sweetens their effect? What if they are indeed poison—a cure for the speaker to pour yet new bitterness for the hearer to drink? Is there no one who can drink this cup to the dregs and still live?
- In “getting things off the chest,” one lays burdens on others. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ teaches that one must not seek healing at the expense of another, for one already has healing at the expense of this man who endured all burdens beyond death. Has he been crucified in vain? Has he overcome death without effect? One must confess without oppressing—that is, confess to this Wonderful Counselor who can bear and has already borne all burdens.
- Bitterness of soul arises in the absence of confession. The Father unwounded hears and in the wounding of his Son heals.
I with Yankee eye did cast my vision down
The tarnished streets of shining Southerntown.
I in calm reply did mind my manners here
As I spied truth beneath a white veneer.
I saw signs whereby the folks kept folks in place—
In class through caste by past beliefs of race.
I exposed a lie disguised in symbols fair:
black child denied adulthood by white “care.”
I have found out why—until the symbols sway,
White father to black brother—caste will stay.
Do to children what you would have them do to others. Hug, and they will hug. Ignore, and they will ignore. Harass, and they will harass. Forgive, and they will forgive. Beg to be forgiven, and they will beg to be forgiven. Question, and they will question. Slap, and they will slap. Encourage, and they will encourage. Listen, and they will listen. Scream, and they will scream. Objectify, and they will objectify. Idolize, and they will idolize. Very rarely and by some unforeseeable influence do young children not mirror their parents.
1. The great flaw of social contact theory is the assumption that one is or should be born into the commonwealth of one’s father.
2. Although it is possible to be baptized into the faith of one’s father, no one can inherit his walk with God.
3. Theory sometimes ignores what art exalts: a political scientist does not know what to do about the individual—which a politician might make into a god.
4. Ethnicity is not a determination of essence.
5. While it is said that there is as much genetic variation within a racial group as there is between any two races, rather than persuading us that race is an obsolete concept, this statement has only illustrated how appearances have priority in the hermeneutic of the masses.
6. A great aid to injustice is a large government in which the unjust man may hide behind bureaus and agencies, so that when the injured cry out and point to “the government,” no one steps forward to receive the blame.
7. We say, “We are a part of the body of Christ,” and it was Christ who said to cut off the hand and stab out the eye if they cause sin.
8. A system offers the individual temporary comfort but provides no immunity from ultimate judgment.
Does the wise man want a compliant son, or does he want his son to be good? If he believes his son can be both, maybe he thinks too highly of himself.
The Idea of a Supreme Master of the Universe may not bother someone who has never been afflicted with great distress or pain. The Idea makes no special effort to win this one over.
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
—Jesus Christ (Matthew 9.12)
To the Sufferer, however, no idea could be more obnoxious. The Sufferer fights against it, wrestles with it. He cannot accept it, not on the Idea’s terms, which are the highest pitch of absurdity to him if he is actually one who has suffered great distress and pain. The terms must change if the Idea is to win him over.
So we say that the Idea may win him over, but not as other ideas do. Something else is needed. To win him over, the Idea, supreme and masterful, presents itself to the Sufferer in the form of suffering, which is the only form a sufferer recognizes with a feeling of certainty. Into the world that declares itself safe and secure, into the world that is already full of the Idea of a Supreme Master of the Universe, this Idea comes to wrestle with the Sufferer, yet not in the form of one who is free from distress and pain, and not in the form of a mighty one who overpowers the Sufferer as all other things in the world do.—Now, before we go farther, we should pause to make sure we understand that the Idea, in “coming to wrestle,” is no longer an idea but a man fully possessing an idea; it is no longer the Idea of a Supreme Master of the Universe but the Supreme Master himself. So the Supreme Master comes neither as a happy man nor as a powerful man, for both of these would fail to carry the Idea to the Sufferer in a form that a sufferer recognizes with a feeling of certainty. As has been said, the Supreme Master comes to the Sufferer in the form of suffering.
Irony holds the keys to a sufferer’s heart. The Idea knows this, so it must win the Sufferer over by means of an ironic choice. So far we have seen that the Supreme Master comes in the form of suffering. This is the beginning of irony but not its completion. If he only comes to appear as a sufferer, going through the obvious motions of distress and pain, then he fails to complete the ironic choice. In this case, he would have settled for a cheap irony, would have temporarily fooled the Sufferer to accept an idea. No, this is not irony at all but dissimulation, irony’s antithesis and lookalike. The Sufferer will eventually discover the deception. And this discovery will drive him farther from the Idea because he has a difficult enough time accepting the Idea of a Supreme Master without thinking that the Supreme Master is also a deceiver. So to complete the ironic choice, rigorous irony demands that the Supreme Master suffer genuinely and thoroughly.
The Supreme Master comes, and the complete ironic choice is that he, in utter humiliation, lets the Sufferer win the wrestling match. The Supreme Master is overcome, even by the Sufferer. And then the Sufferer, if he is actually one who has suffered great distress and pain, may recognize through a kind of sympathy what this humiliated man is: a humiliated god, and a god whose humiliation is masterfully designed and executed for him, the Sufferer. In this way we begin to see how the Sufferer may be won over by the Idea of a Supreme Master of the Universe.
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.