in Tall Tales

Without Excuse

One more than one occasion on this blog, I’ve expressed some of the dis-ease I feel about sharing stories from my encounters with those who are marginalized and exploited (most recently here: Given the way in which we have learned to be entertained, rather than transformed, by stories of disaster, I have often wondered if I am simply further exploiting those who are vulnerable.
Still, I continue to tell many of their stories. Even though transformation seems rare, I have clung to the hope that it still comes for some. Mostly this is the sentiment that I have expressed when writing about these things on my blog.
However, there is another side to this. For those who learn these things — those who discover the evils that are performed in their own backyards, and perpetuated by the structures in which they participate — even for those people I continue to tell my stories. At least, I think, now they are without excuse. Now they cannot claim ignorance. Now, when Jesus says to them, “I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me”, they will not be able to say, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” (cf. Mt 25). Because now, at least, they know that their Lord is hungry, naked, sick, and oppressed here in their own cities, here where they live work and breath, here where it is not so hard to do something about these things.
Because of this, the enigmatic commission that Isaiah receives (cf. Is 6) seems less troubling to me. Behold: an “ever hearing, but never understanding” people! An “ever seeing, but never perceiving” people! So be it. Now, at least, they are without excuse.

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