Well, at least this week you
two seem to have agreed on your tone.
Reporters are writing some rather unflattering stories about being refused access to a protest at Mizzou. Organized by Jonathan Butler and #ConcernedStudents1950, the hunger strike was not meant to be a spectacle in the usual way.
The media have a long history of representing hunger strikes and political fasts as slightly nutty and exploiting the fasters to make a movement look, well, unserious.
Zoe Nicholson was one of the feminists who fasted in the rotunda of Illinois State Capitol for 45 days in a effort make legislators there understand the seriousness of their vote on the Equal Rights Amendment. Her account, The Hungry Heart: A Woman’s Fast for Justice, tells the story. The legislators spent those grueling 45 days waiting them out, and then voted no on women’s equality, effectively derailing these efforts until the present day. No ERA for us.
The media then were skeptical at best and condescending at worst concerning the women’s commitment, methods, and real goals. Thanks, guys.
Thing about a fast is, you don’t know how long you will have to go without food in order to (if you even) accomplish your goal. The preparation of will and spirit, and body, for this endurance test is deep and difficult and serious as hell. People do not undertake a hunger strike lightly or in the name of evanescent causes. Death is a real possibility, form starvation, or infection because going without food does a real number on your immune system.
Which, is why these students probably didn’t want reporters nosing around in their fasting camp. It’s cold and flu season, people. Plus, you just don’t need you concentration and solidarity disrupted when you’re trying to do such an incredibly hard and often misunderstood thing.
The various newspapers who’ve run disgruntled stories about being refused access, or removed from the fasting camp are ridiculous. You do not automatically get access to citizens, even citizens performing a public act like this. No one is obliged to talk to you. Acting like we are so obliged is simply childish.
All this fluffy outrage is the dissonance of faithlessness. Align your hearts, and all the dross and costume of your Lord’s day will fall away in oblivion and leave only warm and active harmony of your compassion for these who are least among you.
Christian faith, in the practice of those have faith, is a demanding and world changing ministry of love.
And here’s why. The last thing you should want, in the name of you Lord, is to be seduced and suckered (what you call represented) by corporate brand management and advertizing. You should, I’m pretty sure, want Mammon to leave you the hell alone, thank you very much.
But, no. Every year you want more civic space, more economic space, more legal space, more DOMINION — which, is not your place. It’s really no one’s place but your Lord’s, or the business of Mammon’s empires, anyway. Not a thing Jesus was super fond of, himself.
I’m not a Christian, but I take your faith seriously. Please, I hope you will too. The Yule Solstice is a time of deep introspection, of sustaining my friends and community against the dark and cold forces of winter –figuratively of dispossession and oppression. Let’s look to each other, yeah?, to each other for shelter and sustenance.