The Red Hook Project NYC is coming along, but still has a way to go. Input welcome.
The conversation continues over at Fr. Jake Stops the World. It is interesting trying to make an argument when focused on liberals rather than conservatives. I have to think differently and use very different examples.
Here is one of my latest posts:
We all should go back and read, “Rules for Radicals.” (A little before my life, though I was alive, but Political Science was my academic focus so I read Alinsky.) Alinsky spent a lot of effort trying to devise various creative means of achieving his objectives in ways that didn’t exacerbate greater social problems and helped elevate/change as many people as possible. As much as it is possible to be at peace with all people, we should creatively purse again and again as many different means as needed to achieve our end without reverting to division and myopic nationalistic interests (which the world knows Americans are apt to do). Our end goals should include the changed hearts and minds of the oppressors as much as relief for the oppressed. That is an enduring relief, and the Cure of Souls of oppressors is the business of the Church in the name of Jesus. That’s the difference between Gospel centered objectives and just socio-political action objectives.
If our efforts, noble or not, do not achieve a better end for those in the most desperate circumstances and if our efforts do not elevate even our opponents (love your enemy is Godâ€™s call to us, even when our opponents wonâ€™t love us) then we need to creatively devise new methods.
Bluntly, we need to creatively devise new methods. Gandhi and King refused to play by the rules of the political zeitgeist of their time. People like Malcolm X were not willing to be patient in ways that actually helped the overall situation and could not see the wisdom of King’s methodology. Both are means to an end, but King’s proved far more effective.
The different and more radical camps within our Church are playing by our current polarizing, individualistic U.S. political zeitgeist – Culture War mentalities and identity-politics, as examples. We need to be more like Alinsky, Gandhi, and King locally and globally and less like the Bushies.
Finally, Rowan Williams. My knowledge of his efforts with all involved is too limited to make pronouncements, butâ€¦ If I was the Secretary General (SG) of the U.N. and if I thought that I could best help the ethnic groups in Burma survive the genocidal campaigns of the military dictators, even if many people in the U.S. thought I wasn’t publicly being nearly as forceful or condemning of the military as the SG should be, and if I knew that the most helpful efforts for those dying would mean that I had to say a few things that would piss off lots of Americans, you better believe I would piss off a lot of Americans and do what I knew would help the suffering and dying.
I would probably think that the Americans werenâ€™t being slaughtered and jailed by dictators, so if I had to suffer their indignation while they made high-minded pronouncements in their prosperity (and hubris), then so be it.