Friday, April 9, 2010

Theology of Crisis

Karl Barth's early theology of crisis
“[Barth’s] deepest intention was to point to the crisis for the sake of pointing to the grace of God, to speak the No for the sake of making the divine Yes heard. In this crisis all human ways are exposed as dead-end roads in order that the one Way might be revealed. The divine Yes is the background of the radical crisis which is suspended over the whole of life.”—G. C. Berkouwer, The Triumph of Grace in the Theology of Karl Barth (London: Paternoster, 1956), p. 33.
Posted by Ben Myers at 7:40 AM

Not only do I like the term "theology of crisis", I like the idea that Barth speaks to. So often in my life I feel like I'm stumbling from crisis to crisis, out of the frying pan into the fire, out of the fire into the soup, out of the soup into the grease. If it isn't one thing it's another. I just don't feel like I'm getting ahead but mostly holding myself against the current, identifying with salmon swimming upstream. Even when i get to float in the pools though I figure it's not going to be for long because some new demand or crisis will arise.
I've treated tens of thousands of patients and when a hundred were doing well there was always one that gave me nightmares. I'd be in the textbooks and journals reading papers, looking for an answer to keep them from dying or get them over their next hurdle. Soon there were just no textbooks that said much about the kinds of problems I was facing. The easy stuff was behind me and everything was a quantum leap more complex.
Meanwhile just when I had some help from staff they had a personal crisis and brought all their chaos and attitude into the office or to the hospital ward. In the midst of this a wife or two would be demanding more attention than work allowed while the government was trying to kill me and my patients when they weren't trying to put me in jail. I was never helping matters because I had this strange notion of justice, and truth and no one played by the rules especially not the politicians and judges who made them.
I felt like a boy scout up the proverbial creek without a paddle and would phone colleagues and they'd tell me they'd never dealt with such a case or the ones who could help wouldn't want to get involved or die before their years because of the caring and stress it brings. Mostly people just went through the motions and were beaten down by the system that served only the wealthy.
Everywhere I looked I found that the beaurocrats had secret agendas, kickbacks and corrupt motives. The deceit and fear in government buildings vied with apathy and arrogance and no shame. They collectively were like judas with their peices of silver. I wasn't Jesus. My patients were. At best I was often just washing feet. I weep these days as I hear of people on life saving medications that are being cut off to pay for the Olympics. They'll die in months or years but they'll die sooner and the reprieve from their illnesses was kind of like a mother offering a tit and then pulling it out of the child's mouth and watching the child starve to death while slowly shaking her head with a mona lisa smile.
Daily now I know there's a cure or answer but there's no resources. There's no medications in the cupboards. There's no specialists. It's a year wait to see one and people wait months to see me. A hundred referrals waiting for me to priorize right now and no time in my schedule because the business is failing because the people who do business decided to think only of themselves and make a huge profit on my patients and my loss.
The worst offenders are the beaurocrats who are paid big bucks to 'self police'. As insiders we know whose "immune" and 'above the law" but there's a few 'favourites' and the rest of us live in fear and the public is kept completely in the dark because it's all back rooms and closed doors and smoke and mirrors.
So it just seems like this is at best purgatory or maybe even hell because the bits of heaven on earth are interrupted by criminals and psychopaths getting away with bloody murder and a veritable million dollar industry of 'false accusation' and a court that thrives on lies. Perjury was once a crime but now the liars are rewarded. When do you know they are lying? Watch for their lips moving.
Their eyes are like reptiles.
They inflict pain. They know no God. They have sold their souls.

So along comes the Theology of Crisis. Barth says to pray. It's only when one prays and accepts that this world is 'wrong', it's 'sinful', it's in error and the people in it are in error, and I am in error, and those who most think they are right are most likely most wrong, that Grace comes. After all the No, yes appears like the light of morning after darkness. Down is up and up is down like everyone whose ever been in court or dealt with beaurocrats or tax departments will know. Double speak and 1984. But that's just jungle and bush. That's just storms at sea.

Step back. Sit quietly. Turn inward and pray. In the moment of crisis which literally is daily and mostly hourly for me or moment to moment as I juggle the impossible demands of the Washingtons and Ottawas and Victorias lightyears from reality in their dachaus and sterile offices and I'm one of the billion peasants now caught in the trenches of the high speed suffering world. Step back. Breathe. Close eyes. Pray.

Every moment Jesus was on the cross God's grace was his resurrection. I look to my own dying as God's grace. There's an end to the newspapers full of corruption and misery. There's an end to the cries of pain. There's an end to this earth where Buddha was right, desire is the root of all suffering and life is desire. I desire the next breath and fear it will be my last but facing death and welcoming it, knowing that God will take me from this life, I feel God's Grace. I am tired of the arrogance and pompousness of beaurocrats, the depth of their lack of empathy, the money men safe in their private schemes, their private health care plans their time for vacations and their servants and hit men and their personal armies and their deceit.
I am tired of my longings for love and peace. I'm tired of my inability to reach perfection. Daily I'm told I'm no good because I can't stop my patients from doing drugs, getting beat up, staying in bed, having unprotected sex, overeating, forgetting their medications, going to jail.
I'm told by my patients and government that I'm accountable for everything and I'm condemned all around but either the patient or the beaurocrat stands at the light switch and refuses to turn it on while demanding I do surgery with a lawyer waiting to sue me for a slip of the blade. And I'm always afraid. I'm always anxious. I'm always worrying I'll make a mistake. I'm surrounded by chaos and disorder and more and more no one cares and the hardware and software are corrupted.
A man is dead 24 hours in a Canadian teaching hospital waiting room and the story is hushed. There is no CEO who is arrested for fired for his death. No one mourns him. He's just another 'friendly fire' death and there will be an 'inquiry' but if I have a slip of the tongue or miss a beat I'm bankrupted and punished and run out of Dodge. There are no safety nets for doctors or nurses or peasants or taxpayers.
I'm persecuted as a "whistleblower'. I'm crying and trying harder and harder and doing more and more in less and less time with the government demanding more and more and police everywhere and homeland security and big limosines patrolling the streets and I'm told of deadlines after the deadlines and the tax men change the rules and only their friends know and the courts subpoenae me and I catch the flu and there's never a vacation because no matter what, the work just piles up and waits till you get back at ten times the amount because there are less and less resources for more and more. And the patients watch tv which is all lies and the politicians promises are supposed to be fulfilled by everyone but them. And we are all growing tired and working more and more and more for less and less and less.

Step back. Breathe. Meditate. Pray. Go for a walk. Get a dog and remember your body is like St. Francis called it, your donkey. Those fat cat beaurocrats, the doctor police and the politicians and the rich aren't caring about you or your patients. They want you to die. They'd love you to die. They only like the silent. Shut up and dance like new nigger. Man is the nigger of the world. You are just a number in their classy work camps. The world has become Auschwitz but just as the jails now have televisions, the gas just takes longer because it's really polluted air and unsafe water and food's aren't inspected for safety anymore and cars have gas pedals that stick. They want your patients to have euthanasia. They prefered abortion and now deny westerners adoption claiming everyone is a sex offender and all should be in jail so children from third world countries woud do better to starve than be raised by Burnaby couples who married late becasue they couldn't afford to have children and then it was too late.

The government's promises are idle. Only their threats are real. The jails are full and they're making more and more 'for profit' jails, sardine cans for your brothers and sisters, without programs, without rehabilitation but lots of money for construction and catering and lots of money for 'consulting' and lots for lawyering ands lots of ways for money to go missing and lots of pay for men in brown shirts with beady eyes.
And where are the hospital beds. Where are the asylums. When do my patients get the medications they need. When do I get any assistance and when will I feel like it's anything but moving in molasses. And when will I be able to do what I was taught to do in university, that very silly place which is an ivory tower and knows nothing about reality because it's like Ottawa and Washington and Victoria so so far from reality that they wouldn't know it if they saw it. And their solution to everything: Kill the messenger. Shut them up. Give them cakes. Make more flag debates.

Step back. Breathe. Slow down. Inside. Calm the screaming thoughts. Repeat the name of the Lord. This is Theology of Crisis. Invite Jesus right into the centre of your pain. Ask God to heal this suffering. Ask him in at the moment when the tax man calls, the same one who called your patient and your patient picked up a gun and blew his brains out. Ask him in when the beaurocrat calls, the same one who called your patient who took an overdose when he got off the phone. Ask God into your life when you read the paper and more money is spent on killing than education or medicine.

Breathe. Feel your feet on the ground. The Theology of Crisis is that God is here always. In the poem of the 'footprints', God is carrying you. Brother Ass, St. Francis said. Soon you'll have a dog. He'll make you walk. He'll make you bend and scoop up shit. All the beaugeosie have their 'personal trainers' cute boys with tight buns or girls in pretty skirts and hard bellies. You'll have another mutt. Life gets better. Maybe this one won't be killed by drug addicts and corrupt government officials.

Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray unceasingly as St. Paul said. Remember Martin Luther King. "It's going to be a tough day so I have to spend more time on my knees." Give up breathing before giving up prayer. And live just to spite the government beaurocrats. Those crazed office dwellers, the administrators with a few years of education and faces brown from loyalty to their superiors who insist they can tell everyone else what to do and how to do it like the feudal lords and ladies they are because they've bought a government with a contribution or a lie.

Breathe. Pray. Forgive. Pray for your enemies. The girl who stole from you and never returned what she took or made amends to you or the patients she hurt or the one who ran away, another liar, the chronic victims who live in the narcissism of victimship so they don't have to care for anyone else but themselves, the navel gazers.

Pray. The theology of crisis that every second you must choose between right or wrong. Every breath is in or out and the world's lung is 'right or wrong'. It's the No of crisis and suffering then the Grace of Yes and relief. Stop chosing fear over love. Stop kowtowing to the bullies in government. Stop being afraid of the prisons and their conspiracies they say aren't conspiracies. Love and Pray.

Live in the centre. Pray. In the theology of crisis know God is always with you and he is bringing death as a reprieve eventually. The pain will end. The persecution will stop. There will be a time without constant criticicm and taxes. There will be a place where you can stand someday in a grave and not be charged with loitering. There will be a parking lot which doesn't cost an arm and a leg. The kings of parking lots won't be there. There will be death and like sleep it will be good. God will bring you there in time.

Now pray. Now in the Theology of Crisis know that this too will pass. It's always getting better and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Call on God. Talk to Jesus. Pray. Love. It's okay. Silence the terror. Go back to sleep after the nightmares. Open the mail and breathe slowly. They are always threatening, they are always bullying. Everyone is guilty today. You are not alone. They can pick up everyone anytime. You have no rights. You probably never had. You were lied to. It's the jungle and they have all the money and guns and they have scales.

Breathe. Quiet. Calm. God is here. This is not real. God is real. This is not real. God is real. This is God but God is greater. In the Theology of Crisis you are saved and chosen and there will be peace.

Go through another day. See yet another stranger. Walk down the unsafe streets. Pray. You are old. Pray. You are more frail and they want you dead. You know she does. She lives to see you dead. That's the evil. Passive aggression. The time theives are the worst. The wasters. The chair fillers. The zombies. The smiling cages. Pray for her. She's really just silly. Pray for her. Pray for your enemies. They know not what they do. Forgive them and forgive yourself.

Forgive. Pray. The theology of crisis. It's the beginning.

No comments: