A Long Obedience

Such Small Hands has a quote from Eugene Peterson on "Discipleship in an Instant Society.

There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness.

This quote came to mind when I read the NY Times story about Eduardo Delacruz, a New York City police officer on the Homeless Outreach Unit suspended for refusing to arrested a homeless man back in 2002. His job was first to homeless people find shelter--but that was later changed into arresting them and getting them off the street. Delacrus was suspended for 30 days, and faces a disciplinary hearing this summer than may cost him his job.

"My position in life is to treat people like I want to be treated," he told the Times. "That's what Jesus taught. That's what I instill in my children."

Office Delacruz has learned something about the "patient acquisition of virtue" in living with the consequences of his decision. Unlike the movies, where he'd be a hero, Delacruz faces the loss of his job and his pension.

He stands by his decision, though he told the Times he would make a different decision today.

Officer Delacruz now says that if faced with the same situation he would "comply with whatever I was told to do." He did not see it as betraying his ideals, but as a way of sparing his family more suffering. His faith, he insists, remains.


Right Wing Satire

News flash--Spiderman is a box office hit. Michael Moore says it's a conspiracy. That's the news at ScrappleFace.com, a right wing satire site.

The Moore story's a pretty good one. Not quite the Onion's "Reagan Pyramid", but not bad either.

Here's a bit:

"It's not just the cynical timing of the release of Spider-Man 2," said Mr. Moore, "but the movie endorses the unilateral and so-called righteous use of power to overcome so-called evil."

If the Moore story isn't enough to make you chuckle, try this site, "Let Them Sing It
For You"
. Some Swedes have put together this sound art project, with one word clips from pop song. You type in a message, and out pops a song, each word sung by a different artist. It's a hoot.


OK, maybe this Internet-things isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

John Adams and Abu Ghraib

Maybe this Internet-thing isn't all it's cracked up to be.

This morning, one of columnists at our magazine sent his latest effort. A retired seminary professor and notorious Luddite, I'm not sure he even knows how to turn on a computer.

Despite this, and the fact that he writes every other month, he managed to find something essential to say about the Abu Gariab prison scandal-- something that all us Internet-savvy journalists and bloggers missed.

During the War of Independance, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigial, complaining about the "continual Accounts of the Barbarities, the cruel Murders in cold Blood, even by the most tormenting Ways of starving and freezing, committed by our Enemies." (BTW, the letter is available online as well as in the "smeared ink on dead trees" format, where our columnist found it.)

"These Accounts harrow me beyond Description," Adams added.

Newsday, in a history of Long Island, did a story on some of the harrowing conditions aboard British prison ships. The piece reports thawhich reports that "More Americans died in British prison ships in New York Harbor than in all the battles of the Revolutionary War."

Adams' letter ends with what is known as known as the "Policy of humanty," which has helped shape American treatment of POWs ever since.

"Is there any Policy on this side of Hell, that is inconsistent with Humanity? I have no Idea of it," he wrote.

"I know of no Policy, God is my Witness but this -- Piety, Humanity and Honesty are the best Policy. Blasphemy, Cruelty, and Villany have prevailed and may again. But they won't prevail against America, in this Contest, because I find the more of them are employed the less they succeed."


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