I spent a pretty normal Sunday yesterday--church, then council meeting, then back home for some reading and a bit of writing. I watched no television, save for a few choice scenes from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--which I know by heart already. I purposely bought no newspapers. Nor did I purchase any of the requisite commemorative magazines. In short, I completely avoided taking any notice of 9/11. Our little town pulled off a large memorial service at the halftime of our homecoming football game on Friday--complete with a field-sized flag, fly-overs, and a ladder truck from the NYFD. They even borrowed our antique bell to ring in commemoration. We didn't go. My wife and I did not even talk about it during the weekend. This morning's local headlines were of the Tyler extraganza at the megaBaptist church, with firefighters and police front and center, American flag videos running continuously on both movie screens flanking the podium, and a rousing medley of patriotic songs, which is all appropriate, I suppose, if your religion is Americanism, rather than Christianity.
I do not discount the horrendous human tragedy of that day. Human carnage is sickening--all of it. I suppose the thing is this: I cannot divorce the events of 9/11 from everything that has come afterwards--our lost, fearful disastrous decade which shows every sign of becoming a lost, fearful disastrous generation. I'm not saying we should forget--far from it. Remember the tragedy and the lives lost in the conflagration. But the event and--God forbid--our response, should not define us as a nation.
I find it hard to express exactly what I want to say, but I am largely in sympathy with the sentiments of the following articles.
A superb collection at Tipsy Teetotaller
And this from Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick:
Orthodox Christianity is about coming face to face with death, grappling with death, and wrestling it to the ground. It is not about accommodation to this world. Those who prefer to be accommodated to this world will always be utterly devastated by moments like 9/11, because they cut so sharply into the comfortable complacency of a consumerist culture. For them, it is true that nothing will ever be the same. But those who will not surrender, those who will not be defeated by death or by the world that death holds in its thrall, those who have put on Christ and struggle to put on Christ every day—they cannot be destroyed.