Tuesday, December 13, 2005

from life to death and back again.

this happened just hours ago...
"Former gang leader Stanley "Tookie" Williams has been executed by lethal injection, 24 years after he was convicted of killing four people." see this article for the details.

sherry and i went to see the movie "Capote" over the weekend. a disturbing film for many reasons, but worth seeing if you are interested in north american literature. the publicly funded death of Tookie and the graphic scenes related to the hanging of one of the movie characters has me thinking about death as a penalty.

my background in criminology has given me an interest in such modes of retribution and i've never been able to see the rationality nor the holiness of state sponsored murder. I certainly don't want to open up a debate about the death penalty here...there are plenty of other places for that. i guess my reflection here is more about advent and the coming of a Life-giving King.

through reading about Tookie's "just desserts" and seeing "Capote" i have become freshly aware of the sinful ugliness of killing - i guess i have become re-sensitized.
gang violence, revenge killing, random and pre-meditated homicide. just war, suicide bombers, torture, genocide, 'the mercy seat', and justice in the shape of a noose.
dark things that in recent days have served to quicken my need for the light of a savior who would live and die in such a way that death would not be the end result of murder, and perhaps, more profoundly, to show us that killing is never the Kingdom of God option. we need(ed) someone to break the cycle of death for death. for me this starts with becoming more attuned to the thoughts that objectify (and therefore murder) people around me, and extends out into issues of verbal violence (gossip, slander, et al), corrupting rage, the death penalty, and war. God, help me! God, help us! and so i pray this advent prayer with Isaiah (64:1), "Oh that you would tear the heavens, that you would come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence."

1 comment:

brad said...

i nearly cried in my cereal this morning when i heard he was executed. possibly the saddest part concerned the wife of a store clerk he murdered who was present at the execution. she had been waiting for nearly thirty years to see this man put to death. what kind of life is that? i am not particularly emotional but it all strikes me as impossibly sad.