Those two moments in my life—both virulently racist—clash in tone and spirit, but the line that separates them is thread-thin.
No matter what we experience, no matter how bad or pitiable or shocking, it seems to me that believers always know that God himself stands somehow between us and sheer, unbearable horror.
We’ve been through times both of us hope never, ever to experience again. When God doesn’t pick up the phone, believers feel unspeakably alone. Then there are no words, only groaning.
Familiarity doesn’t necessarily breed contempt, but familiarity has, it seems, taken the awe out of awesome. Can we still use the word awesome to describe the creation of the world?
Henry Benjamin Whipple went on to become Bishop of Minnesota and to plead, famously, to President Abraham Lincoln himself, for the lives of the 300+ Dakota warriors sentenced to hang after the Dakota War. Lincoln later said he felt the urgency of Whipple's visit "down to his boots." Most Minnesota white folks hated him. His colleagues thought him a fanatic...