I’m so grateful for this morning’s rain and hope it cools things off a bit. These days, southern Indiana feels far too much like the Mississippi Delta for my liking, with all due respect to my husband’s kinfolk. No gardening complaints though. The squirrels are leaving my tomato plants alone, so I harvest every day. I’m packing the freezer with yellow squash, blackberries and pesto. Ben and Bailey found an awesome recipe and jazzed it up using our poblano peppers. Find it in our recipe section.
The political conventions have had me a little world-weary, and then I read this by Reinhold Niebuhr, in his diary in 1926 when he pastored an inner-city Detroit church. Mass automobile production was just underway and labor had not yet unionized. Working and living conditions for the factory workers were horrific. Niebuhr wrote, “The morality of the church is anachronistic. Will it ever develop a moral insight and courage sufficient to cope with the real problems of modern society? If it does it will require generations of effort and not a few martyrdoms. We ministers maintain a vast and inclusive ignorance. If we knew the world in which we live a little better we would perish in shame or be overcome with a sense of futility.”
His words ring no less true in our time. To perish in shame or be overcome with a sense of futility is tempting but not inevitable. Pastor Niebuhr’s own life is evidence. He went on to write, to work and to speak tirelessly and forcefully on the moral tragedies of modern society, particularly during the long years of World War II in Europe. He was a colleague and friend of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the Christian martyrs of that generation.
These days, vast and inclusive ignorance is pretty hard to come by, given our constant diet of world news and images, a daily feast of the real problems of modern society. Again I remember that even though I can’t do everything I can do something. Today I’m planning to take some popsicles to one of the downtown parks where homeless people gather. It won’t end a war. It won’t end homelessness. It’s so very small a thing to do. It’s neither insightful nor brave. But it is, in its own tiny way, the very opposite of anachronistic. It says, “I see you, right here, right now, in this park, in this heat, in the same town as me. We are neighbors. Our lives are connected.” And besides, who doesn’t like a popsicle when it’s hot? Between Habitat Builder’s Blitz and Pokémon Go, dragging a beat-up cooler around has sort of been my thing this summer anyway. I hope you find your own thing to do too!