Six months after: A sermon
: Here is the text of the sermon six months after 9.11 that I delivered this morning. I’m told it went well. But church people are supposed to be nice. For those few nice souls who’ve followed this weblog for sometime, many of the themes are familiar. It is about the changes in life brought on by September 11th and how we are coping with them.
By chance, the sons of one of the ministers had just graduated from Marine training camp at Paris Island and he was in the congregation in full dress uniform as I was talking about the soldiers who are off defending us and about my newfound understanding of the unfortunate necessity of war. He inspired me.
At the risk of being obnoxious quoting myself:
I believe that this is a clash of civilizations, as one historian has labeled it. This is a fight by civilization and tolerance against fanaticism and hate, a battle to defend God against those who would commit evil in His name. I believe that those of us who are in the mainstream of any faith, those of us who hold that religion and society should be open, forgiving, and full of grace and humility, must speak up and fight back — or the meek shall lose the earth. This is our war.
But what now stops me from becoming a fanatic in this war myself? I’ll tell you what stops me: My doubts. Since September 11th, I have come to treasure my doubts and questions about faith all the more, for those doubts are precisely what separate me from the fanatics….
And so I try to look at the change of these six months since September in that light. Yes, life has changed. But life is about change. It is a mark of our maturity and our civilization that we as individuals and we as a society can adapt to that change and not lose our bearings and our moral compass. For our faith may not tell us exactly, literally what to do. But it does tell us where north is. And with that, we can reset our lives around the change that comes upon us. We change. God does not.
I close with an image I’ve used before here:
And so I try to find the good. And I do not have to look far. I find it in our tremendous outpouring of charity to the victims of September 11th. I find it in our national unity and common sense of purpose and in our international unity in this fight against evil. And, of course, I find the good in the stories of tremendous courage and heroism that came from that day.
I have many images in my mind from that morning: from the beautiful, pure, clear, sunny sky that started the day to the utter darkness that quickly followed. But of all the images in my mind, the ones that stay with me most are of the faces of the firefighters and rescuers I saw rushing into those buildings. I remember them clearly: etched with fear and determination but without doubt or hesitation.
Those were the faces of the saints of September 11th.
: In other times, it would be a punchline to say that New York State established an agency to keep New Yorkers sane. Now there’s not much funny about that. The Liberty Project put up guidelines for viewing tonight’s CBS 9.11 documentary.
Following the program, some people may have a recurrence of symptoms they previously experienced following the event: they may have trouble falling asleep, may retain images of the show, or may have difficulty concentrating. For most, the increase in distress will be temporary.
For some, the program could be helpful as people try to digest and process the horrors of September 11th.
Dust to dust
: A firefighter’s diary of working at Ground Zero, from the Observer:
It’s very ritualistic. What they’re finding is clothing – barely a trace of a human being. In a way, it’s very peaceful there, almost Zen-like. The people are mixed into the dirt. Dust to dust is not just a saying now, it’s become a reality…. Nothing has colour or tone anymore, it’s all just this dull grey. We look but there’s nothing solid except papers and office manuals. Sometimes it seems like only the bureaucracy survived.
: Thomas Nephew has a good backgrounder on anti-idiotarianism following Instapundit‘s praise for the trend (“that’s a term coined by Charles Johnson to convey that support for the war on terrorism wasn’t confined to any particular party or political group”).