Sunday, 8 May 2016

Cry Freedom

There goes the bell, we won the fight
Sing out the song of victory tonight
All the joy our thoughts will bring
Let the bell of freedom ring!
Let the bell of freedom ring!

Today’s blog is a collection of quotes on this theme.

Stephen Schwartz, from “Pocahontas”

You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew you never knew

For whether we are white or copper skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountains
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind

Andrew Sails:

We talk of people being imprisoned in a marriage, a slave to fashion, caught in a web of deceit, immured in debt, chained to their desk, and so on. The bars of the prison house can be to do with wealth, health, addiction, fear, envy, malice, greed….

I remember Nelson Mandela saying that during his decades in jail in South Africa his soul enjoyed a freedom unknown to the gaolers who locked him up.

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol:

“Much they saw, and far they went, and many homes they visited, but always with a happy end. The Spirit stood beside sick beds, and they were cheerful; on foreign lands, and they were close at home; by struggling men, and they were patient in their greater hope; by poverty, and it was rich. In almshouse, hospital, and jail, in misery’s every refuge, where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door, and barred the Spirit out, he left his blessing, and taught Scrooge his precepts.”

“There are some upon this earth of yours,” returned the Spirit, “who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.”

Robert Pleasance, American Quaker to George Washington, Slave Ownero on Freedom:

How strange then must it appear to impartial thinking men, to be informed, that many who were warm advocates for that noble cause during the War, are now siting down in a state of ease, dissipation and extravigance on the labour of Slaves?

Manifesto of the Bolivian Methodist Church (1970), in The Cry of My People

Not only are there dehumanizing tendencies within people, there are dehumanizing forces encrusted in society. Sin also has a social and objective dimension. The social, political, cultural or economic structures become dehumanizing when they aren't at the service of "all persons and the whole person," in one word, when they become structures which perpetuate injustice. Structures are a product of persons but they assume an impersonal and even demonic character by going beyond the possibilities of individual action. Collective and concerted action to change said structures is necessary, for there is no structure which is sacred or unchangeable.

Thomas Merton:

“Every person becomes the image of the God they adore. He whose worship is directed to a dead thing becomes a dead thing. He who loves corruption rots. He who loves a shadow becomes, himself, a shadow. He who loves things that must perish lives in dread of their perishing. The man who leaves the Lord the freedom of the Lord adores the Lord in His freedom and receives the liberty of the sons of God. This man loves like God and is carried away, the captive of the Lord’s invisible freedom. A god who remains immobile within the focus of my own vision is hardly even a trace of the True God’s passing”

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