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Live by the Rule of Love!
As a host family in the Bettina Network I’ve met all kinds of people, had thousands of conversations around the breakfast table and sometimes have great evenings with complete strangers in front of my wood burning fireplace. Conversations which changed my life and have often made me reflect on the condition of my soul. That is one of the hazards of having a Bettina Lifestyle House – or whatever we are called these days.
None of these breakfast conversations have made me reflect so much as the conversation about the “Rule of Law” to which we hold as a country.
What is amazing about that is we also claim to be a “Christian” country. – not to ignore my non-Christrian brothers and sisters, but it is who we claim to be and the reason today for the great political divide in this country. We have almost become the country of the ‘saved’ and the ‘damned’.
The Rule of Law has never struck me as hard as it did listening to all the comments on the various cases which have caught the media’s attention of late – Zimmerman, Martin, Bradley Manning, and on and on.
In this country where the Rule of Law is supreme – Martin was killed, Zimmerman was exonerated and freed, Bradley Manning was tortured, tried and convicted and on and on we go, closer and closer to the depths of hell.
When the decision goes against the just and is clearly not justice, we revert to much talk about how we are a nation under the “Rule of Law” . We tell ourselves to remember that and continue to live under this Rule of Law- even though it is not always perfect – and we must accept that or our entire system will be destroyed and undermined. We threaten those who weaken with talk about the unwashed many who will run amuck and rob, kill, rape, and commit general mayhem if we don’t respect our Rule of Law. Without it, we claim, we will all be at risk of being harmed. We are told it is not perfect, but it has created a great nation – the greatest nation on earth and without this Rule of Law, we are told, we will be overrun with mad people running around doing all kinds of unspeakable things with no controls and nothing to stop them.
But Martin was killed and his killer was exonerated under our Rule of Law —— wasn’t that mayhem out of control? Maybe we deserve to be a nation under the “Rule of Law’ because we can abdicate responsibility, reason, sanity, but mostly we can abdicate love – that which demands the most of us.
Christianity claims to be ruled by a God of Love. Christianity claims that the God we worship is Love, but Christians don’t want that concept to enter into their considerations when making and changing the institutional structures under which they will live. As a country, we refuse to live under the “Rule of Love”. It is a great mythical and theoretical concept to talk about, but not to live under. It has nothing to do with our reality. But still Christianity claims that Jesus came to bring in a regime which eliminates the “Rule of Law” and takes it to its next step. As a nation and as Christians, we hold up the “New” Testament which is all about moving away from the law into the gospel and the gospel is about love not law. In fact, one could almost say Christianity denigrates the Rule of Law. It is not an eye for an eye…………….it is better than that! By your fruit………….
I called a friend of mine, also a host family in the Bettina Network, who has these breakfast conversations with strangers about the most intimate things – to try to talk through what has been and is troubling me. She talked about how the Zimmerman/Martin case exposed the hypocrisy of the “Rule of Law”, but that just didn’t do it for me. It didn’t go far enough.
Since religion is at the core of all politics I would like to ask our editor to throw open the blog to writings about religion. Why are you who you are spiritually? Why do you need to convert others? Why do you refuse to convert others because you are one of the chosen few and don’t want those others to join? Why do you live under a rule of law when your religion dictates that you live under a rule of love? How can you claim to believe one thing and live another? How can you define God to be who you need God to be and ignore the reality of God and God’s kingdom breaking in all over this world of ours? Why are you running around trying to patch up those holes where God’s kingdom is breaking in so the structure you, your friends and your family helped create won’t fall apart and will remain in tact in this process?
I heard a young person constantly bragging about her family. They had a Radcliff degree – she had a degree from a college just as prestigious – and went to a private grammar schools considered to be one of the New England Establishment’s schools that the ‘elite’ attend – and her mother supposedly came from a prestigious, wealthy community in New York. It was very painful to listen to her put up this smoke screen because she and they have done nothing with all that background except live in pain and want and tragedy. This young person has the God-given talent of a beautiful voice, which she trashes on a regular basis and when given the opportunity to use and develop that talent trashes the opportunity as well as the voice. What is that about? Raise those issues to her and she will trash you! How does that happen?
Sin, in Christianity, is defined as the absence of God. God is defined as Love! Sin is the absence of Love! Isn’t that how all of this happens? It is such a huge responsibility and such a huge burden to live under the rule of law. Yet not only do we live under this rule, but we raise our children to do just that.
It is such a treasure and joy to live under the rule of love. What a place this country would be if we could move on – out of the shadow of the laws which have enslaved us for so many years into the light of love which has freed us. That kind of freedom seems to be what we are most afraid to embrace – and so we live our lives in such a small, carefully defined place with those better than we are and those less than we are carefully defined and kept in their places by this Rule of Law. We give up everything we have, including our lives to maintain those carefully crafted laws of oppression.
We set forth a body of laws which maintained Jim Crow as legal and the law of the land and we forced our citizens to live under that law – preserved and reinforced by the Supreme Court of these United States and today we glorify that same Court without calling it into question and demanding acknowledgment for its wrongs.
We maintain that Rule of Law because it maintains the status quo – the oppression, the poverty, the homelessness, the suffering of all the people who live under those laws. That Rule of Law maintains the status quo of the wealthy, the powerful, the dictators of high-brow culture, whether right or wrong – and we consider ourselves the greatest nation on earth because we live under this Rule of Law. We call it the greatest ever created.
The loneliest place to be in this society – all over the world – is in that place of a child without a group; a half-breed who does not belong to one group or the other. We ostracize such a person – trash them – try to hide them – scapegoat them for the sins of the rest of society. We elected one as President of these United States and the anger, hostility, horribleness thrown at him is beyond and beneath all of us, yet some of the seemingly nicest people do it and hide behind their political designation as their claimed reason. This half-breed president strikes terror in the hearts of those who most cherish the rule of law. Is that what is wrong with that young person with the beautiful voice? She lives with a mother who holds up her “Yankee” history as great, while her children look on as half-breeds and incorporate into their souls their brokenness and inadequacy because they are not such a great and glorious part of this New England Establishment?
If you live, even partially under the Law of Love it shows – in how you look; in how you take care of yourself; in how you relate to others; in how you take on the responsibilities of being a part of a whole, in how you are not afraid to speak truth. Every minute of every day it shows and those around you see it. God is Love – not Law. Law cannot be fair and just. It was created by all of us and it embodies all of our sins, our flaws, our weaknesses, our biases and then those who most benefit from this Rule of Law throw in the demand that we all live by it or be negatively judged by it.
We expect and demand that Rule of Law to maintain a society in which we are judged and agree to be judged by a Rule of Law set in place to maintain the privileges of those in control and maintain the oppression of those who are under the heavy foot of the privileged.
God forgive us!
I nominate this Rule of Law for Bettina’s Hall of Shame!
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