Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

My 9/11 Story...So Far...

On the morning of September 11th, my daughter who was in high school at the time called me at the church office and told me to turn on the television because the World Trade Center had been hit by airplanes. In the church kitchen the staff and I and others who happened to be in the church building that morning watched the television reports and saw both buildings collapse.

As the day progressed I realized that the church community would need to have some kind of gathering for reflection and prayer. We contacted all of our members and invited the community through the media. We put together a service for the next day, September 12th.

By that time the spin had already begun. I didn't know it was spin at the time. The spin was that we were attacked by Muslim terrorists. Even then, one of my largest concerns was that this attack could start a desire for rage and revenge against Muslim people.

In the service I included a reading from the Qur'an and in my homily, I said:

This is a day of mourning for the victims of the unspeakable violence yesterday in New York City and at our nation's capitol. We stand with those who have lost loved ones with deep sorrow. Our sorrow will never reach the depths as that which has been experienced by those who have lost fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, life partners, children, loved ones.

The act of terror and violence against innocent people is inexcusable. There is no reason under heaven for an act so cowardly and so despicable as violence against innocent men, women, and children. Violence at this magnitude is beyond horror. It is not justified now, nor ever. The scars will remain with us for as long as any of us here will live as well as with the lives of our children and our children's children.

In response to this we feel justifiable rage. The Psalmist echoes our feelings even as we may not dare to speak the words aloud: "O daughter Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall they be who pay you back what you have done to us! Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock! (Psalm 137:8-9)

Our anger and sorrow is deep and will grow deeper still as we hear more about the victims and as we absorb the anger and the anguish of the nation. It will be tempting--so tempting--for us to seek vengeance quickly, something, anything, to soothe the rage.

It is at this point at which we need God. It is at this point at which we need to express our rage and anger toward God. We direct it toward God not because God caused it, but because God receives it. God became one with us on the cross in Jesus Christ for our anger and for our rage and for the injustice of the suffering. We must give our rage to Christ, for only Christ is large enough to receive it and to melt it.

The enemy is not the Muslim people or the Arab people. The enemy is violence itself. Violence bred by injustice and uncontrollable rage which has turned to hatred. The answer will not be more violence bred by more rage and more hatred and more injustice. This will only lead to the deaths and to the suffering of more innocent people and it will not bring peace to our world.

Yet, we must bring the perpetrators to justice. This is not an attack on the American people. It was an attack on the very fragile spirit of human life and morality. Violence is the evil. Justice will only come as the world itself puts the perpetrators of violence on trial. Virtually every nation has condemned this act of terror, including the Palestinian people. Muslims, Christians, Jews all have condemned this evil.

Now it is time for Muslims, Christians, and Jews, to seek peace. We must together seek peace with justice. We must work together for justice. We must work for a justice that will put these doers of violence on trial so the world may speak with one voice against violence and any who enacts violence. It is not the way to solve conflicts.

We must also work for a justice that is not blind to the cries of suffering and oppressed people. We may have the opportunity now to ask ourselves: "Why are so many of the Arab people so angry at America?" Asking that question in no way justifies or excuses the unspeakable acts of evil and terror that have been committed. But if we seek justice with peace for all people on this fragile globe we must truly seek the answers with openness and a desire for truth. It will take a miracle for this to happen. It will take a miracle of God for us to work for a true and lasting peace with all of our neighbors.

We must pray for that miracle. Else I fear for the survival of the human species. I do not think that I overstate that concern. Our technology and our weapons of destruction and our vulnerability to misuse them is so great that we human beings could make for our own destruction unless we learn the difficult, the courageous, the humble, the Christ-like way of peace.

To love our enemies does not mean that we do not do everything in our power to end violence and to bring the doers of violence to justice, and sometimes that requires force. Force blessed and enacted by the agreement of nations united for peace. To love our enemy means that we recognize that we become the enemy we despise when we let that hatred and rage consume us. We are to love our enemy for ourselves as much as the enemy.

I read passages from the Hebrew Psalter, the Muslim Qu'ran, and the Christian Gospel to demonstrate that these three great and peaceful religions are just that--great and peaceful. The people who faithfully pray and practice their beliefs around the world all want the same thing we do--to live in peace with neighbor, to seek happiness, to enjoy life, to live freely. We must not let those few who insist on violence to destroy that hope of peace and freedom that God has planted within our souls.

In these critical days and weeks to come, the leaders of our nation and of the world need our prayers to work a miracle. May we pray for that miracle each day. As followers of Jesus we can do no less.
We did a lot less. What I preached against is exactly what has happened. Two wars, the trashing of civil liberties, media paranoia regarding "terrorism", demonization of Muslims, and the refusal to look for truth.

Question: Why are the Arab people so angry at America?
Answer: They hate our freedoms.

End of introspection. Begin bombing.

The American people didn't make this up. We were imprinted with this script from the very beginning. We didn't have a prayer at seeing things for what they really were. The irony is that the "leaders of our nation", I now believe, wanted precisely what I preached against to happen. And it did.

Since 9/11 I became involved in the anti-war or peace movement. The 9/11 truth movement wasn't convincing to me. I didn't want to be convinced. Those two movements really didn't (and still don't) trust each other. The truthers think the peacers are naive and the peacers think the truthers are wasting time.

I went along with the official 911 conspiracy theory because I didn't really want to look at it. When theologian David Griffin came out with his book, The Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11, I looked into it a little bit more. I wrote a response to it for Witherspoon Society. [Scroll down]. I began my review this way:

For three days the book sat on my coffee table before I dared to pick it up. I probably would not have purchased it had it not been published by Westminster John Knox Press and had not my conservative colleagues criticized the publisher for publishing it. Nevertheless, it sat on my coffee table because I knew the central thesis of the book (that 9/11 was an inside job) if true, would shatter all of my myths of American Exceptionalism. The implications would be staggering. That is an understatement.
I concluded being non-committal regarding Griffin's view, but appreciative of what he had done and appreciative that Presbyterians, Westminster/John Knox Press, published it. And not without some heat, as I also wrote at the time.

In the Witherspoon essay, I used my review of Griffin's book to talk about Peak Oil, which Griffin did not mention. Peak Oil is I believe the key motivation for the 9/11 false flag.

I have had a wishy/washy relationship with the 9/11 truth movement, in no small part because I am already marginalized because of my crazy views from gays to peak oil to Jesus. If I admit now that I am a truther I won't have any friends left.

But that isn't much of a reason, is it? That is just chickenshit.

I am writing autobiographically about this because the facts of the events surrounding 9/11 are not convincing to anyone who won't look at them. As far as facts and evidence are concerned, see this video and this video both on-line and that should be enough. To get you to even spend two hours watching the videos is a Herculean task. There is something prior to facts and evidence that must first be overcome.

I am trying to determine for myself when and why I decided to look at the evidence and accept my government's involvement. I think it is a spiritual issue. It is about who we are as human beings and how we are related to our neighbors and our leaders and our world. It is about our myths (and I mean by that the religious sense of the word myth or grand story that defines us). These are important questions we need to ask ourselves:


Who are we?
Where are we going?
How will we go?
Will we go like lemmings or human beings?

It has been Peak Oil [see Petroleum Man] that has changed my outlook and shattered my previous myths (esp. human progress). I believe that we have begun a long collapse and the project of industrial civilization is ending. That is a way bigger deal than 9/11.

My questions regarding Peak Oil and collapse led me to Michael Ruppert. Over the summer I read Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil. That is no easy read but thorough and engaging. He did what Griffin didn't do, connect 9/11 and the geopolitics of empire-building with Peak Oil.

After I read that book I realized I couldn't hide anymore behind my fears.

But here's what pushed me. What made me decide to come out as a truther and to write these posts this week was something that appeared in the Johnson City Press about a month ago. It was a poll asking: Is It Fair to Deny Muslims a Place to Worship?

I wrote about it here,
Is It Fair to Deny Baptists a Place to Worship? and followed it a few days later with, Crazy Hysterical Christians in response to Christian hysteria regarding Muslims.

I realize it has been full circle. At the very beginning, directly following 9/11/2001, I was worried about how Muslim people would be treated. Now, nine years later, that event, in which the Muslim world was framed for an event that our own leaders perpetrated, is being used to foment more hatred against the Muslim people.

The lies of 9/11 are not going away. That is why I need to tell the truth.

Collapse is underway. There is no stopping it. There is no green solution or magic energy pill that will keep us happily motoring.

But, we can be decent. That begins by being honest with ourselves about the truth.

That is my story...so far.
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