Sunday 30 November 2008

Journey in a Broken World: "My stereotype"

(Journey in a Broken World )

Article by Marc Aupiais

She had said that the Afrikaners were placed in concentration camps by our Allied government in World War Two: whole families: children and women also. I asked, wasn't that some other war, wasn't it just men in the Second World War, that they put in concentration camps for support of the Nazi enemy?

Then, I had made an odd comment: they were not of what one might say is my tribe. It was quickly rebuked. I agreed, it is so easy to see another group as less than human, we do it daily with refugees on television, and with murdered Fetuses, we do it when a Tsunami strikes, or two buildings are flown into by planes: at first, yes empathy, but then: often apathy. We were driving back from church.

He was wearing unfashionable short pants, and Afrikaner attire, I thought he'd get into a Land Rover, and drive off, he did not. My stomach turned, he was our car guard.

When we were leaving, I quickly got the bags and put them in the car, I felt guilty: I was not going to let him serve me, he was human. I felt such guilt, guilt we don't feel when refugees are our car guards: more educated men. It wasn't my comment that it was an Afrikaans issue, that had made me so concerned. I empathized with him, as I often do with church friends of all colours, and with colleagues who are Afrikaans.

Somehow, I am accustomed to Nigerians, or Zimbabweans, with nothing: taking our bags and putting them in the boot (storage area of the car for our international readers), then taking our trolley, and smiling while they serve us. We expect them to die to protect our car, for enough maybe to buy a soft drink.

When considering Afrikaners, who supported the Nazi enemy, I seemed more dry about the possible punishing of their families, I thought: maybe that is why they took over the country later. It was a definite they. Now, I am not a tribal person, yet: because they were abused by a government my ancestors fought with against the Nazis: I did not care if their families were locked up. I was wrong: only the objector should have been imprisoned. And again, with the car guard: today I realized, subconsciously, I have viewed things tribally.

I find it of interest, we see tribes, and fit with some. My tribe is Catholicism: the doctrinal, dogmatic type. I feel at home with Catholics somehow, and especially with British people, even as I am not a British person. When on holiday: I take comfort in British institutions. We were a British colony, but it is more than that. I was not around for our independence. Those of our tribe, we associate with.

We say: if not clever enough, or not pretty enough, or not our language, or not our grade at school, or year in varsity, or department at work. What Christ brings is not grace alone where there was "none". Not salvation where there was none: he saves those before and after his death: with his one death and resurrection. Yes, he enables our obedience... but all grace is through him, before or after his passing, is it not?

More than that, what is radical about Christ: is that he preaches that all men are our neighbor, our tribesman. He came to love and save all of us, even my French, Irish, German soul. He himself: even loves me, one not of his tribe, one who is now of his new tribe: simply because I am human.

Love your neighbor: the Jews did, but love your tribal enemy, while prudently securing your life: well, that is a Catholic idea. Whether Born, or in the waiting room of the womb, hoping not to be killed, whether black, white, or tan, whether catholic, or Islamic, or Atheist: all are in my tribe: it is fear which empathizes more with our own language or colour. When white men are car guards: it makes one fear: their tribesman is that, what of them?

When we realize finally: all men are my neighbor, whatever their stage, beliefs, morality, or colour: the truth comes: justice extends to every life... no person may be denied justice: and while it is my responsibility to care for my life first: others are just as worthy of justice, even as I must secure my own life first. 

Now, the Catholic tribe, brings hope, and it alone can do in the world: what is needed to save it: we are the Spartans at Themopoly; and only by our sacraments, and for those able: our faith; or else religion in perfect proportion: the seeking of the Truth, to obey Him, but not finding him of no fault of our own. We are saved by one church, one baptism, one breaking of bread.

Our tribe is humanity, our sustenance: the Military pledge: the "Sacrament", all 7. Our boat in this rapid flowing river, securely anchored on the crisp white crystal sand: is Mother church: the "pillar and foundation of the Truth" (I Timothy chapter 3 verse 15). Being Catholic, and in truth, makes me sane, but the sane and insane are of one tribe, being Catholic means I have the ability to save others; or to save more through influencing others who aid others by my work: but my fellows are just as human. Humanity is lifted in dignity, by the nature of our soul: but also as God took our form: we are elevated from all eternity, and every beginning: to utmost dignity. God bless Africa, the world, and Afrikaans people, and refugees. But most of All: God bless humanity. And my friends overseas, and over in my heart.

Either by obedience to the church, among the knowing, or obedience to conscience, and seeking of truth among the still seeking: we can be saved in hope: let us forward our tribe: by living morally, and instilling justice, even when it means violent means are needed to defend good. Let us instill justice, which is love, and faith, which is salvation, and deeds, which are faith, and which sustain it, and are required for it.

By our pledges, our sacraments: military pledges, not personally phrased procedures. We are saves: let us propogate the tribe of love, of truth, of sane proportion: even within the church. Let us be Catholic!

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