Keeping silent is not the answer

A good friend sent me a private thoughtful critique after a recent post. He said, he found “finding fault” alone at best amusing but mostly annoying. He suggested I make some positive suggestions.

First of all I think if we find fault we should criticize. I don’t think silence in the face of injustice is ever wise.  Sometimes it is important for us to make clear that we dissent from the conventional wisdom. This is particularly important, I believe, where the powerful majority is sometimes misusing its power or authority. Someone should stick up for the weak. I am trying to do that in my puny way, even if that means that I annoy some of the powerful.  So be it. I have been too quiet for too long. I am choosing now to speak up. I think I should have spoken up sooner. Sometimes the time has come to denounce actions of a large group. Sometimes it is important to let others know on which side you are on. Others can choose to disagree.

I live in a small town where sometimes, in my opinion,  the majority has gone too far in their dominance of the vulnerable. I am not saying they were always wrong or that they were bad people. Many of them are good people who meant well. And that is important. Others abused their power.

I have  been asked to make some “constructive propositions.” I intended to do that later, and will do so. However, let me make one at this time.  I was very fortunate to have been raised by loving Christian parents who did their best to lead me to salvation. They were not mean or abusive. They did it with love. They taught me; they did not indoctrinate me. For example, they never forced me to attend revival meetings.I was free to go if I wanted to, but was also free to avoid them.   I was expected to attend Sunday School every Sunday. It did not damage me, though I was not keen on it.  What they gave me was spiritual freedom. I will always be grateful for that freedom. Some of my friends were not so fortunate. I intend to blog about the positive as well.  Specifically, I think there is a better way than evangelical religion. I intend to share that.

With such wonderful freedom comes responsibility. So I have chosen to speak up. Martin Luther King also spoke for those who had been taken advantage of. I am not comparing myself to him. He did that in much more serious circumstances than I have been doing. He was a brave man. I know I am a moral pipsqueak in comparison. This is what he said, “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” I don’t think we should keep quiet just for fear of being annoying.

1 thought on “Keeping silent is not the answer

  1. The fact that you have dared to take on such a sanctified institution—Sunday School no less!—and have wondered if it might be guilty of the indoctrination of young minds, shows you have a lot of intellectual courage. I think it’s a subject worthy of consideration.

    For me, it’s like tweibach: the ingredients are baked in. Butter, scalded milk, bleached flour are in there and no one can separate the constituents from the bun. They are digested whole. With jelly.

    Same goes for the neatly packaged messages fed to children. You can’t say they are “just Bible stories”. They are, in fact, carefully constructed and fiercely protected propaganda.

    Oh, boy. Well, “Don’t have a cow!” as the most prolific Mennonite writer in history once wrote. Listen—please and thank you—I created “the truth with attitude” for Mennonite manufacturing companies for many years. I was paid good Mennonite dollars, money that could have been sent to missions, to be a schinda, if you’ll pardon me for calling myself a mule-skinner. My point is, “Don’t kid a kidder!”

    Take David and Goliath for example. “Rocky”, “The Fugitive”, “Heart of Darkness”, “The Hardy Boys” – the list goes on almost forever. It’s all the same old trope: A bored rich kid with an 800-year-old father, his pick from a bevy of slave virgins and countless goats to sacrifice decides to put aside the trappings of wealth and power and become the world’s greatest stone slinger. He trains (always to a backbeat of Journey songs—they had just started up then) for years and one day is called to battle the giant Goliath. With the white-hatted Christian world’s fate hanging in the balance, lest they smite us before we smite them, he whips a smooth stone at Goliath. Just like that jantsieder, Bernard Malamud’s, “The Natural”, David’s aim is true and his power is, umm, almost God-like. The Mariano Rivera of the fertile triangle. Blonde and blue-eyed (born in Sedona?) David IMBEDS his projectile into the centre of the giant’s forehead, like a third eye, but unseeing. The beast falls, dead before his Mr. Big-n-Tall toga hits the sand.

    Then, properly warmed-up, Davey-boy puts on his @ss-kicking sandals and goes on to defeat about a schmillion unbelievers using photon torpedos and his trusty Walther: Canaanites, Trogladites, knights in dark armour, Liberals at that one table at Tim Hortons, The Riddler, and those suspicious-looking people with the strange clothes who took over the old Plett place last week. (“What church do they go to, anyhow?”)

    Even to me, a long-winded, reformed grifter/propagandist; a worn-out, gristled heap of horse hockey and scar tissue, that whole story smells fishy.

Leave a Reply to Mitchell Toews Cancel reply