Crossing the Abyss, Part One

“The triumph of sin, the main sign of its rule over the world, is division, separation, hatred. Therefore, the first break through this fortress of sin is forgiveness… which is a return to unity, solidarity, love.”  –Fr. Alexander Schmemann

Waves of demeaning entertainment wash over us every day. We are surrounded by people with addictive lifestyles. Many of us suffer from a sense of psychological isolation and social alienation. Many people are sinking into a quicksand of poverty which is slowly choking their lives. We thoughtlessly pollute the environment. Acts of violence are commonplace around the world and in our backyards. Morality has become a private affair. Terrorism is rattling everybody’s nerves. In the Middle East, war is always on the horizon. Day by day our joy is being stripped from us. We are hungry for God, hungry for answers to our endless stream of problems. But our really big questions about God only have one answer: silence.

We live in very divisive times. The Catholic Church is divided; all of Christendom is divided, deeply so. Islam and all the other major religions are each internally divided. The Jewish faith, for instance, has three distinctively different branches, each virtually diametrically opposed to each other. Business is divided. Politics is divided. And no matter the sphere of interest, the loudest, most obnoxious and most extreme of voices are all we hear. And the chatter is ugly and bitter, laced with lies and hatred.

Perhaps the biggest division is within ourselves. There is a great divide between whom we appear to be on the surface and who we really are deep inside. We all have hidden sins, stuff we let virtually no one see, not even our husbands or wives. So, we too are divided within ourselves, divided between our public and private lives.

For a nation where the majority of citizens are Christians, where is the Gospel in all the vitriolic yelling and screaming? Can you see Gospel values and principles in the way we deal with our enemies? Can you see Gospel values and principles in the way we deal with undocumented migrants seeking enough wages to feed their families? The list can go on and on: how we treat the sick and the elderly, how we loan money, how we execute prisoners, how we deal with racial matters, how we flood the internet and all forms of media, including television, with pornography.

We are familiar with the Gospel, but the Gospel is not familiar with us.

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2 Responses to “Crossing the Abyss, Part One”


  1. 1 Rev. Paul McKay June 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    “We are familiar with the Gospel, but the Gospel is not familiar with us.” Great zinger.

  2. 2 Jerry June 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

    It is hard in winter to discern the signs of the coming spring. But when I look around the world, I see early signs that things are getting better. Worldwide poverty rates are going down. Democracy is spreading, albeit in fits and starts. The world is living in the greatest era of relative peace in recorded history. Fareed Zakaria’s address http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/05/text-of-fareed-zakarias-commencement-address/ makes these points and more.

    I think we’re all being called to aid these Godly forces in whatever way we can even in the tiniest acts such as being pleasant to a sales clerk.

    One of the things I’m doing to try to maintain a positive outlook is keeping a set of bookmarks of sites that feature positive stories. It’s helpful to me to balance all the sensational and divisive issues being featured in the mainstream media.


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