Saturday, October 8, 2011

Judgment Reflections: Exclusion Before Embrace

"Faced with the Balkans, Rwanda, the Middle East, Darfur, and all kinds of other horrors that enlightened Western thought can neither explain nor alleviate, opinion in many quarters has, rightly in my view, come to see that there must be such a thing as judgment. Judgment- the sovereign declaration that this is good and to be upheld and vindicated, and that is evil and to be condemned- is the only alternative to chaos. There are some things, quite a lot of them in fact, that one must not tolerate lest one merely collude with wickedness. We all know this perfectly well, yet we conveniently forget it whenever squeamishness or the demands of current opinion make it easier to go with the flow of social convention....

But judgment is necessary- unless we were to conclude, absurdly, that nothing much is wrong or, blasphemously, that God doesn't mind very much. In the justly famous phrase of Miroslav Volf, there must be 'exclusion' before there can be 'embrace': evil must be identified, named, and death with before there can be reconciliation. That is the basis on which Desmond Tutu has built his mind-blowing work on the South African Commission for Truth and Reconciliation. And- this is of course the crunch- where those who have acted wickedly refuse to see the point, there can be no reconciliation, no embrace" (Surprised by Hopepp. 178-79)

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