Three Turns of Thought. Of Bitterness. Of Oppression and Confession.

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. Bitterness of soul arises in the absence of confession. The Father unwounded hears and in the wounding of his Son heals.

John Dollard in 1930s Indianola

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.

A Maxim. Of Children. Of Parenting.

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.

A Prayer.

Father in heaven, keep the thought of you from admixture in this mess of my mind.

Your kingdom is present, and I confess that your will has always been done in me just as it is in you.

Give me all I need to continue to grow in your will. Forgive me my sins and shortcomings, as I in humility do, must do, for others.

Stop me from tipping the scales to favor the temporal over the eternal, and lead me safely past my encounter with the evil one who rages against you. Amen.

Eight Slightly Related Sentences.

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.