In the Calvin in Common discussion we are debating whether the language of “truth and reconciliation” is appropriate to this crisis. I’m still on the fence. Why? because I’m not sure we want reconciliation like we say we do. We so often want blame, finger pointing, revenge, and to see those we blame to be humiliated, scorned and marginalized.
In South Africa the committee had the legal authority to offer amnesty in exchange for truth. The Calvin community may be able to try offer reconciliation but without the monolithic legal authority like a government has the offer it is less obviously effective.
The Calvin in Common group grew out of a protest that had a decidedly American, political edge to it. Politics easily divides us and we quickly invest ourselves in political tribes. The ultimate demands of Christ invite us to divest ourselves emotionally from these tribal commitments in order to invest ourselves in Christ’s command to love our enemies.
This reminds me of the story of LGBT Activist Shane Widmeyer and his relationship with Chick-fil-a owner Can Cathy. You can read about it in this Huffington Post Piece.
Complaint and protest are how we legitimately pursue justice.
Reconciliation is no small undertaking and in the context of a community it is a long term and costly process where each of us as individuals engages in the question of possible forgiveness.
I’m glad we’re having this discussion because it engages us at our deepest levels. Do we want truth? Do we really want reconciliation and what it will demand?
The Calvin community has been wounded and it appears by the evidence we are accumulating that there has been and there will be blaming. If we have the power of being on the right side of an argument, will we also have the Christ like character to seek reconciliation rather than mere revenge?
Attempting to pursue something like this in our geographically scattered, loosely affiliated community is an enormous undertaking. It would be a glorious thing to pursue both for Calvin and the kingdom of God. I don’t know that we’re really serious about it or even up to the task.
Revenge, whether in gossip, slander or private mental indulgence of evil against an adversary is so natural and easy.
As CS Lewis said, everyone thinks forgiveness is a good idea, until they have something to forgive.
If we can as a community seriously embody a desire for reconciliation over revenge, it would be a glorious thing to behold and a costly thing to participate in. pvk
If you want to join the conversation you can find Calvin-in-Common here