Thursday, February 17, 2005

Modern Martyr - Click for full story

What makes someone decide to kill a 74 year old nun? What thought processes lead a person to consider that option, think it is a good idea, and then go through with it?

"The town of Anapu, on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, is most notable for the dust that clogs its streets and for the number of shops selling chain-saws. It is also the place that Sister Dorothy called home for more than 30 years and where she organised her efforts to try to protect the rainforest and its people from disastrous and often illegal exploitation by logging firms and ranchers. Now Anapu will be known as the place where Sister Dorothy is buried." (quoted from the story at the link above.)

Dorothy was from Ohio. She was a part of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Cincinnati. She decided to take a stand with the people of the Brazilian rain forest in their struggle to keep their land out of the hands of illegal loggers and ranchers. She knew that what she was doing was dangerous, but she did it because she was dedicated to God's rainbow. She kept at it because she believed in a Christ of liberation and love who brings God incarnate into the worst situations. Her persistence led to her murder.

"Sister Dorothy Stang lived among those who wanted her dead. When they finally came for her she read passages from the Bible to her killers. They listened for a moment, then fired. Her body was found face down in the mud, blood staining the back of her white blouse."

Sister Dorothy was a more faithful disciple of Jesus Christ than I will ever be. I have heard people say, "You don't have to change the world. Just change your own little part of it." In fact, I myself have said that exact thing from the pulpit. I'm not sure what that means after reading about Dorothy. I don't believe it as much as I used to.

Maybe God wants us to change the world. Maybe God wants us to bring the rainbow, even force it if we have to, into the world's darkest places. But bringing the rainbow into dark places can make people mad. The dark hides things. "...all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed." The dark is comfortable.
The rainbow is anti-dark, and I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable or hurt anyone's feelings, after all ... I don't do so well with conflict.

Have you ever done something in the service of Christ that someone would kill you for doing? "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."

Grace and Peace,
Andy B.


iamnettie said...

Great story. I think sometimes the worse part is when you are doing stuff that you are happy about and then find out that those who are supose to love you, end up turning on you.

Seamhead said...

Andy, I read this earlier today on this blog. I found it through this blog.A person like Stang should at least act as a standing indictment against any of us who thinks that facing professional opprobrium or public ridicule for one's faith is anything like carrying a cross. A person like Stang should also be a standing indictment to American Christians who believe they are being persecuted by animated sponges, or Kwanza. Sometimes contemplating the number of things that democratic prosperity allows Christians to think of as crucifixion strikes me as an exercise in turning towards the absurd.