Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

12/16/2008

The Vulnerable Pay the Price

The following is the Christmas Letter from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams:

Human beings, left to themselves, have imagined God in all sorts of shapes; but—although there were one or two instances, in Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt, of gods being pictured as boys—it took Christianity to introduce the world to the idea of God in the form of a baby: in the form of complete dependence and fragility, without power or control. If you stop to think about it, it is still shocking. And it is also deeply challenging.

God chose to show himself to us in a complete human life, telling us that every stage in human existence, from conception to maturity and even death, was in principle capable of telling us something about God.

Although what we learn from Jesus Christ and what his life makes possible is unique, that life still means that we look differently at every other life. There is something in us that is capable of communicating what God has to say—the image of God in each of us, which is expressed in its perfection only in Jesus.

Hence the reverence which as Christians we ought to show to human beings in every condition, at every stage of existence. This is why we cannot regard unborn children as less than members of the human family, why those with disabilities or deprivations have no less claim upon us than anyone else, why we try to makes loving sense of human life even when it is near its end and we can hardly see any signs left of freedom or thought.

And hence the concern we need to have about the welfare of children. As we look around the world, there is plenty to prompt us to far more anger and protest about what happens to children than we often seem to feel or express. In the UK this year there have been several public debates about childhood, as research has underlined the lack of emotional security felt by many children here, the high cost of divorce and family breakdown, the disproportionate effect of poverty and debt on children, and many other problems. We look forward to the publication here in the New Year of a nationwide survey about what people think is a 'good childhood'—sponsored by the Children's Society, with its long association with the Anglican Church.

Elsewhere we see far more horrendous sights—child soldiers still deployed in parts of Africa and in Sri Lanka, the burden laid on children in places where HIV and AIDS have wiped out a whole generation, leaving only the old and the young, the fate of children in areas of conflict like Congo and the Middle East and the insensitive treatment that is so often given to child refugees and asylum seekers in more prosperous countries.

'Though an infant now we view him, He shall fill his Father's throne' says the Christmas hymn. If it is true that the child of Bethlehem is the same one who will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, how shall we stand before him if we have allowed his image in the children of the world to be abused and defaced? In the week I write this, the British public is trying to cope with the revelation of the shocking killing of a very small child. Recently I accompanied a number of students and British faith leaders on a pilgrimage to the extermination camps at Auschwitz, where some of the most unforgettably horrifying images have to do with the wholesale slaughter of Jewish children—their toys and clothes still on display, looted by their killers from their dead bodies.

Rowan Williams with children in the SudanChristmas is a good time to think again about our attitudes to children and about what happens to children in our societies. Christians who recognise the infinite and all-powerful God in the vulnerability of a newborn baby have every reason to ask hard questions about the ways in which children come to be despised, exploited, even feared in our world.

We all suspect that in a time of economic crisis worldwide, it will be the most vulnerable who are left to carry most of the human cost. The Holy Child of Bethlehem demands of us that we resist this with all our strength, for the sake of the one who, though he was rich, for our sake became poor, became helpless with the helpless so that he might exalt us all through his mercy and abundant grace.

With every blessing and best wish for Christmas and the New Year.

+Rowan Cantuar

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1 Comments:

  • At 12/17/2008 8:17 AM, Blogger sie.kathieravelu said…

    Please find below my opinion of solving the problem in Sri Lanka.The suggestions can be applied to any country including India. Anyone is free to comment on it because it is my firm belief that if a sustainable society is to be reached, it will not be political leaders who would show us the way. More likely, small groups of us will emerge who have found the way, and spread that message to others. When a critical mass of the electorate has already adopted a more developed sense of society, only then will our leaders follow.

    The main cause for all the ills of any country and every country is the present democratic system of governance which allows "corruption" of all forms to thrive unchecked.

    In my opinion "Corruption" includes any kind of waste, neglect and every form of malpractice, dishonesty, abuse, misuse, unreasonable exercise of power, failure or refusal to exercise power, anything and everything left undone which results in the right of the people being denied or impaired.

    Without a "just society" in existence much talked about "terrorism" cannot be eradicated. For the creation of a "just society" there should be "good governance" in the country. For the creation of "good governance" in the country "corruption" of ALL forms must be eradicated. And to eradicate "corruption" the present democratic system of governance, where full power to make final decisions ultimately rests in the hands of one person, must be changed.

    So the only way to salvage a country is to change the present system of governance to one that is truly democratic where the final decision-making power will NOT be in the hands of ONE person BUT shared by as many people as possible. Thus restricting individual and hasty decisions leading to trouble everywhere.

    To make a country truly democratic, the powers of the Parliament (the decision making supreme body of a country) should be split and separated and each of the separated powers must be handled by separate groups of persons selected and elected by the people for the purpose of administering EACH SET OF POWERS or duties as the case may be. Particular care should be taken to see that all powers are NOT CONCENTRATED in one place and that they do not overlap and there must not be a secret budget to be handled by a single person.

    All transactions should be transparent including Diplomacy which has to be diplomatically transparent.

    One set of powers dealing with the development of the country should be given to the set of representatives at the village level. The people of each and every village must be empowered to determine their way of life (lifestyle). The life-style of a village, its lands and resources shall not be disturbed by external forces. All plans of development of a village or remotely/indirectly affects the village must have the concurrence of the people of that village concerned.

    Even now the administration is from village level unto National Level in many countries with many stages in between - one above the other - with powers overlapping and the final decision-making power is at one place - the top. That is the problem and so that system must be changed.

    The decision-making powers with regard to every set of powers must be spread through-out the country.
    We can lead the world with such a REAL DEMOCRACY with a parliament encompassing representatives from all the villages and starting the administration of the country at the village level and going unto national level.

    Mahatma Gandhi wanted the villages of India to be empowered but it has not implemented by the government of India yet due to human nature of not willing to lose the little power each person (office) is already in possession.

    A change in the people's attitude and understanding of the problem is important. They must be made aware of the benefits it will bring to them in the long run. Now they are after short-term profits. They are not considering the future generations. A corruption-free society will bring-in good-governance that will benefit everyone other than the crooked politicians.

    In my opinion the people are ready to change the present system but they are not being given the opportunity by power hungry politicians. I think the countries of the World must move towards this goal and like-minded persons from all walks of life must join the movement and strengthen it. Only then can the people be able to give a send-off to ALL the corrupt politicians of ALL political parties and usher-in a new era of a corrupt-free society in any country. Rajaji (the last Governor-General of India) tried it in India but was not successful.

    Rather than continuing to express and analyze the problem of the day we must move towards a solution.

    They (the people) should move away from race/religion/language/class-centered/oriented politics and move towards a needs-focused administration that which is race-blind, religion-blind, language-blind and class-blind for sustainable peace, prosperity and a pleasant living for ALL the people in a country.

    Sie.Kathieravealu

     

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