A Too-Long Headline

Commentary

Headline
The title started as something else, but by the time I had finished my outburst (er, poem), it occured to me that the whole thing was in the form of a headline, a very long headline. It’s “too-long” in a double sense: too many words for one headline, and it speaks of a too-long history of evil.

Journey From Evil
In my imagination, the author is looking out a train window as he travels across history. What he sees out the window is a passing scene of perpetual destruction and oppression.* His guidebook explains the sites along the way. The guidebook is unofficial. Official history is written by the victors, and it is written to justify the evil by which, and for which the victors fought. This is the true history — ancient, recent, and current — “from” which we move toward God’s Kingdom. In my eschatology, there is little expectation that things will change much for the better until Jesus returns and establishes his rule. I could be wrong. [for instance, could I successfully refute the evidence Steven Pinker marshalls in “The Better Angels of our Nature”?]

Stillborn Might-Have-Beens
One area of history that I have been reviewing recently is the Reconstruction era immediately following the Civil War. It was a time of remarkable reversal. People who had only recently been enslaved were now welcomed into political leadership and higher education. I heard today that in one prominent South Carolina university, the enrollment was more than 50% blacks at some point between 1865 and 1875.

But then all that came to a screeching halt. Some Northern whites decided that it was in their best economic interest to let their disagreement with the South be forgotten. Some who still pressed for reconstruction lost their moral authority because of scandals. Greed had gotten the upper hand. What followed was almost a century of oppression: what the South referred to ironically as “The Redemption“: Jim Crow laws and all sorts of other UNKINDNESS, whose devastation is still evident (although some would white-wash it).

Humankind: what a cruel joke!

[In writing this, I know that I am laying myself open to some blowback. Christians don’t appreciate someone pointing out that they’re invested in a world that serves them well (though only for now).]

*There’s a personal history as well. Examining that history, I’m increasingly aware of how desperately I need Someone to save me from my sins.

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