Thursday, July 17th, 2008
Where is God today, in this world tormented by borders and abysses? Don't the walls that divide our lands and our lives, the borders that penetrate even through our hearts, cut into God too? Don't the deepening dead zones in the ocean, and the poisoned horizons of man-made desert, kill and desertify God as well? Many souls and mine included, are weary in the utterly unnecessary destruction and suffering that tortures the Earth today. We are wondering where God is. And right there, as our hearts sink headlong into the enormous suffering and injustice of the world, there we find God. "Today," John Berger writes, "the infinite is with the poor."
"God did not bear the Cross only 1,900 years ago, but he bears it today, and He dies and is resurrected from day to day... Do not then preach the God of history, but show Him as He lives today through you." -Gandhi, Young India, 1927
Where is God today? Having asked, we must dare to answer. How is this living and dying God shown living through us? God is today bearing the crosses and consequences of our conveniences. In the consumerist metropolis and its suburban enclaves, in the off-shore world of penthouses and estates, in strip malls and on superhighways, God is shown living through us in all the services and commodities that compose our comfort, in all the surplus that international capitalism accrues to us. The face of God is poverty. God is the damned and the wretched of the Earth, God is the poor. And the poor are God: In every sense they die for our sins. Across the centuries, from the plantations to the sweat-shops, it is our gluttony that they are enslaved and worked to death to satisfy. It is our hate and envy and pride that make the wars and conquests that they always suffer the most. And now, in our regret and repentance, it is our sloth at overcoming this dreadful state of affairs that perpetuates their trauma and prolongs their sorrow.
God, today, is in prison.
The incarceration of God has created an extremely volatile situation: Today, resistance is divine, and both the means and the ends are nothing less than the emancipation of God. In a world order of permanent war against God, rebellion becomes sacred. In a society where God is systematically exploited, the cause of revolution is blessed above all things. "Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God," as Jefferson wrote. The class war is now a holy war.
This is dangerous territory. Alas, we are not here of our choice. Some are born with territory, some are thrust out of their territory, and some have territory thrust upon them.