Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reflections: The Righteous Rebel

In the course of doing my job in the university archives, I was indexing fifty-eight boxes of personal papers donated to the University back in the 1980s by a professor of English, long since dead. Tucked away in a folder, buried at the heart of one of those many boxes, I found a little pamphlet that was prepared for the memorial service of its author, Dorothy L. Sayers. The pamphlet includes two short essays. For whatever reason, I was moved to pause in my work long enough to read the first of these, “The Greatest Drama Ever Staged”. When I came to the paragraph which I share with you below, I was hit hard by thought--OMG, could we ever use a leader with these characteristics today!

Read it and see what you think:

The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore—on the contrary; they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified Him "meek and mild," and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies. To those who knew Him, however, He in no way suggested a milk-and-water person; they objected to Him as a dangerous firebrand. True, He was tender to the unfortunate, patient with honest inquirers and humble before Heaven; but He insulted respectable clergymen by calling them hypocrites; He referred to King Herod as "that fox"; He went to parties in disreputable company and was looked upon as a "gluttonous man and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners"; He assaulted indignant tradesmen and threw them and their belongings out of the Temple; He drove a coach-and-horses through a number of sacrosanct and hoary regulations; He cured diseases by any means that came handy, with a shocking casualness in the matter of other people's pigs and property; He showed no proper deference for wealth or social position; when confronted with neat dialectical traps, He displayed a paradoxical humour that affronted serious-minded people, and He retorted by asking disagreeably searching questions that could not be answered by rule of thumb. He was emphatically not a dull man in His human lifetime, and if He was God, there can be nothing dull about God either. But He had "a daily beauty in His life that made us ugly," and officialdom felt that the established order of things would be more secure without Him. So they did away with God in the name of peace and quietness…

…much as they are trying to do away with the protestors filling the streets and public parks of the world’s great cities today. We must not let them succeed again; not one more time.