I spent a good part of my afternoon becoming increasingly unhinged about U.S. foreign policy. Publicly. On Facebook and Twitter both.
I could write a lot here about unmanned drones and war in general and the painfulness of underwriting Empire. But I’ve already written enough soundbites about that today. And I could write more about how violence isn’t so much an American thing as a human thing, and about how the world as a whole is an unfriendly place in which to try to commit oneself to non-violence. But I have already written and re-tweeted the same. And I could spiral down into self-recriminations about my complicity in violence and my own selfishness, but my depression this evening is evidence that that too is old ground, already covered. As I said, I was busy on the internets today.
I have an inner voice that condemns myself for not doing more, an inner voice that insists that I am deceiving myself that I am doing all that I can – that I already push myself to the limits of what I can take without unspooling to the point of utter uselessness. It is a demon in the guise of an angel – because this voice would make it my job to save the world. This voice overwhelms me until I am paralyzed, eyes drawing me forward into an abyss from which my own voice would reach no ears.
Tonight, as my family sat in the living room singing hymns, it occurred to me that I had neglected the two things I am most bound to do as a Christian: I had not prayed for Barack Obama. And I had not written to him, my brother in Christ, to share with him my concern about his foreign policy decisions*. Both of these actions are commanded by Jesus. Both of these ought to have been first steps, not afterthoughts.
(For more on this kind of prayer, see my earlier post on Praying in Color.)
Lord, forgive me for how easily I forget that those who are in power are as much your beloved children as those vulnerable ones who suffer from the decisions of the powerful. Remind me always to pray for those who would prioritize some lives over others. And deliver me from my own self-righteous tweeting, that I might more clearly reflect your love in the world. Amen.
* To be clear, I am no more enamored of Romney when it comes to foreign policy – I cannot imagine he would be any better. But for the next few months – and perhaps for the next few years, it is Obama who is actually making those decisions, and hence who is accountable for them.