In the book “Pillars of the Earth,” Ken Follet tells the story of a monk, Prior Phillip, and his attempt to create a respectable village amidst the anarchy of the civil war between King Steven and Empress Matilda. There is a minor character who is a monk that betrays Philip to aid the authoritarian bishop Waleran Bigod. Prior Phillip has the opportunity at the end of the book to shame the traitor monk and turn him away, but he does not. He redeems the life of the monk and invites him to return to Kingsbridge Cathedral. Phillip even dismounts and allows the fallen monk to return with pride atop Phillip’s horse.
It is no easier today to accept authoritarian rule than it has been in the past when Americans have decided that they would rather die fighting it than accept or submit to it. But I must say that even Adolf Hitler was a person. Stopping his holocaust was a moral imperative, but dehumanizing even him is dangerous, as that is the stuff that his road was paved with. I am doing my best to understand what is expected of me if I am to walk through this world as Jesus might if he were here with me. I cannot accept the abuse of church power to oppress the people of the world, but I will continue to sharpen my empathy and to love and serve the pepple of the world, starting with the people next door. Power hungry pastors are wrong, but Jesus calls us not to follow them. He had some not-so-nice names for them, as a matter of fact. I cannot allow the oppression of the brokers of absolute power to persuade me not to act out what I believe will make me a better person and will challenge me to be set apart from them. There is a message abound that encourages bitterness, fear, anger, and hatred. I will not make my message resemble it in any way, and if I do, feel free to correct me.