Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Variations on a Theme by Chesterton

"Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions." - G. K. Chesteron, Heretics

It's not so very difficult
to know more about folks than we do.
They usually tell us,
plain as day,
what they think and how they feel.
Sometimes even in words.
If we would just remember
how there is a brotherhood of man
(one curse, one doom, one earth to till),
and more than that, one image in us still,
despite the filth and foul and pain,
the mark of God before the mark of Cain.

Can we remember that we are the dust?
And would we treat co-heirs of dust like dirt?
What reason will we give to God,
much less to them
we've trodden down,
when we all meet in death or border towns?

So if you want to disagree, then listen.
To shut your ears would be a mad disgrace.
Nobody's asking of you blind acceptance,
but simply take a look before your face.

It's not just Shylock who can bleed or weep,
no, every man and woman has the skill,
and will you shut your heart and nation still?

Will you shut out and shame the poor who clamor
for the crumbs from the table,
as though we were the master?
Or will you ask them in, and ask about their health,
their family, their work, their Lord and Savior Jesu Christo?
You will find them men and women, children, too.
You will find them kind, and cruel, just like you.
You will find them much more willing
to shoulder a burden and walk another mile
for you, for their friends, family, or nation (old or new).

And when you have known them to be men,
women,
and children,
after God's own image,
sometimes after God's own heart,
will you still shut your own?

It is one thing to love justice, as it has been defined by the comfortable.
It is quite another to love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself.

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