Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just which values are we working with

I am talking to you here as someone belonging to the so-called First World of the industrial West. And the real exile of Christians in the First World is that we have learnt to put up with that exile.

We do not look on our life in the affluent society as if we were in Egypt. On the contrary, we have adapted ourselves to it to such and extent that in the very midst of Egypt, under the domination of the Pharaoh, we feel quite at home. We Christians in the First World have adapted ourselves to the Egyptian way of life, and we have taken over the Egyptains fundamental outlook- the assumption, for example that individualism is the highest stage of human development; or the assumption that history is a senseless seesaw; sometimes one group is up; sometimes- after a revolution, perhaps,- it’s another. We have learnt very successfully to endure our exile- so successfully that as Christians we no longer see ourselves as being in exile at all, or as strangers in a foreign country. In fact we are more concerned to Egyptianize the whole world. We consider that the countries which have not as yet adapted themselves completely to the capitalist way of life and its system of values are ‘not yet’ as advanced as ourselves. The context of our lives is Egypt, but we try by all possible means to avoid taking this historical context of ours too seriously. We prefer to ontologize Egypt, saying that the things we don’t approve of in our countries are in accordance with man’s sinful naure, which is an eternally given fact. We declare that certain quite specific human characteristics, which have without any doubt developed in the course of history, are simply natural- competitive greed for example, or envy, and the lust for possessions . The Egyptian way of life seems to us the natural one...

In the First World we have learnt to put up with exile, and that means that we have even forgotten the thirst for justice and righteousness. We have become one with the objective cynicism of the prevailing culture.

Chosing Life
Dorothee Soelle

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