Sunday, October 01, 2017

A touch of class indignation and maybe a warning of warfare at a church potluck


At a church potuck after the Communion service this first Sunday, I had an odd conversation. I sat down at a circular table across from a middle-aged man who looked like he came off the streets.
A conversation started.  He rebuked people who had disrespected the flag at football games, but then suddenly went on a rant as to how Washington DC used to be 95% black (it wasn’t) but how richer white people had driven them out with gentrification.

“What if I show up at your house with a gun and take it back.  You leave” he said.
  
“That’s political violence”, I said. Or maybe it’s expropriation by force.  (The Bolsheviks did it to people in 1917.  But then so did the Nazis.  And then so did Stalin.  A friend in Minnesota calls this "purification", without fasting, Lama-style).  After which there are no victims, only a new normal.  People who used to think they were better than others have been reduced to nothing by force.  Everyone is brought equally low, by those for whom civilization, with all its built-in inequalities, makes little sense,  So far, this is pure existentialism.  I understand the Christian message that then there is only Grace.  And then, I thought, someone like Clark Kent in Smallville never asks people to drop everything and follow him.  Neither does Peter Parker.  There are no god-kings.
  
He criticized me for “just” riding the Metro, not taking the bus (and maybe not volunteering for Food and Friends to deliver in SE DC).  The woman next to me then intervened and criticized him, as not showing the love of God. He said something about Joshua being an invader and a dictator.  I said something about the idea that conquests, captivities and forced migrations happened a lot in the Bible to the chosen peoples.  (Babylonian captivity was a “normal” for two or three decades.) The woman then explained that the two very full plates from the pot-luck would hold her until the next food stamps.  I had contributed my share, from the Harris Teeter. 

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