Thought for the day

(And no, it’s not by Walter Brueggemann!)

It’s not easy to speak prophetically because in unjust systems the people who carry out the system’s orders usually don’t seem to be bad people. The corporate CEO who throws workers out of their jobs to increase profits also is a great softball coach on the weekends. The colonel who orders cluster bombs dropped in civilian areas, ensuring that children will die for years to come, also is a caring parent. The real estate developer who destroys habitat to put up McMansions also keeps a lovely garden at home…

So how are we to find the strength to speak in the prophetic voice? The answer is in the collective. Unless one is truly a saint, it is difficult to resist all the temptations and confront self and others without support. We think of prophets as lonely figures who have stepped out, or been cast out, of a society for speaking the truth bluntly. But even if an occasional idiosyncratic figure can speak from such a solitary place, most of us cannot endure that kind of isolation. So, we must speak prophetically together, not in unison or in lockstep — speaking prophetically means speaking from one’s own heart, which will mean our voices are always distinctive — but in solidarity. —Robert Jensen