There isn't a tidy way to write about forgiveness. It's the whole gospel, for sure. But you've got to deal with the sin that preceded it and the damage that won't go away no matter how much reconciliation follows it. You've got to deal with the stop-start nature of relationships, the silence and paralysis of pain and shame, and the fact that we fail at least as much as we succeed.
The glory of American politics is that voters get to "throw the rascals
out"—whether or not they understand who the rascals are or the nature
of the crisis the nation is in. Very little could have done by any
government during this worldwide economic slowdown to address the high
unemployment, except more government stimulus, which is what voters say
they don't want.
A few weeks ago I traveled to Detroit with
friends who wanted to show us their hometown of Wyandotte, Michigan, just south
of the city. We stayed in a former Navy officers club on Grosse Ile, walked
through Henry Ford's Greenfield Village, then drove in to see a baseball game.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Sarah Albahadily will wear her headscarf
to a Brad Paisley concert and her cowboy boots to a mosque. There are
two things she says she never misses: Friday prayers or a University of
Oklahoma football game.
It was the spring of 1963 in Birmingham, and it looked as if the civil
rights movement would suffer yet another defeat. The powers that be had
more jail space than the civil rights workers had people. But then one
Sunday, reports historian Taylor Branch, 2,000 young people came out of
worship at the New Pilgrim Baptist Church and prepared to march.
To little fanfare, Denis McDonough, President Obama’s chief of staff, joined a team on the streets of San Francisco doing a head count of the homeless. It was part of a survey required of cities every two years in order to qualify for federal funding for homeless programs. The president had told McDonough he wanted to know firsthand what the city was doing about the homeless. San Francisco has been able to get 19,000 homeless off the streets during the past decade by expanding housing and support services, but it still had over 6,000 people on the street during the 2013 count. “This is the same sort of challenge we face all over the country. The numbers tell the story,” McDonough said. “I had no idea anyone gave a damn,” one homeless man told the team (SFGate.com, January 30).