Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years later

Of course a lot of the blogosphere has been full of 9/11 thoughts this weekend, and I'll briefly join them.

Over the past decade, one trend I've noticed in myself is a continually more optimistic view of individual people, and a continually more pessimistic view of groups.

I know lots of great Christians who live in the bible belt and vote Republican, but I fear the religious right looks and acts insane on a regular basis.

I know some brilliant and compassionate Democrats, but I fear the liberal left looks and acts impotent to tackle the social challenges of 21st Century America.

I've met atheists, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists and am proud to call them my friends. But I fear that religiously-fueled wars and acts of terrorism will continue to have major impact on billions of lives.

In all this complexity, my final wish for us is surprisingly simple. As we each grow in maturity and love, I hope that we could each picture ourselves in front of Osama Bin Laden on September 12, 2001. One day after his "victory" in killing thousands of Americans and frightening millions more in an intricate and well-executed plan.

And my hope is that if I, or you, was face-to-face with this lethal killer one day late, that we would not be filled with falsely-righteous rage nor falsely-compassionate cowardice. I hope we could see him as a human being, horribly flawed and guilty, although perhaps no more than we would have been had we been born in his shoes.

If I faced OBL on Sept. 12, 2001, I don't know what I'd do. But no matter what action I took, I hope that the very best version of myself would be filled with an overwhelming sense that this man had killed the innocent in hate and premeditation. And that this kind of act had a precedent, and only one proper response:

Father forgive him, for he knows not what he's done.

But until each one of us becomes that best version of ourselves, we'll keep looking for those bright spots in the midst of religious, military and political wars.

God bless America, and God bless our enemies.