“I Was Blind, and Now I See!”
An article donated by Alton C. Thompson
The ninth chapter of John’s gospel tells an interesting story about a “man born blind” who was healed of his blindness by Jesus. The story may not be authentic, but it’s interesting!
The late Donald Capps, 1 in his book "Jesus the Village Psychiatrist", 2 argued that Jesus was keenly attuned to the psychological causes of illness and through his ministry brought healing to bodies and souls alike.
Capps argues that one of Jesus' purposes was to heal people from mental illnesses, which people in the ancient world would have seen manifested in physical ailments such as blindness, paralysis, or other symptoms. Fully engaged in historical Jesus scholarship, Capps carefully examines Jesus' deep concern for both physical and emotional health and shows how his proclamation of the kingdom of God envisioned a world without mental illness.
Whether Prof. Capps was right about Jesus does not concern me here. My interest here, rather, is in the fact that many today who have good vision are, nevertheless, “blind” in important respects!
Blind to the fact that little of Christianity (with the Quaker faith being an exception) 3 conforms to the definition of “religion” as given in James 1:27:
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
I’m now 80 years of age, and have had plenty of opportunity to observe Christians -- having myself been associated with four different denominations during my lifetime. I have seen plenty of “pollution,” and little orientation to helping others—seeing, instead, an emphasis on having “faith,” accepting certain doctrines, and “believing in” the magical properties of certain rituals and beliefs.
Where in “Jesus Loves the Little Children” is racial prejudice advocated?! The “noose” episode recently in Talladega, Kentucky, was disgusting. Fortunately, though, the support given Bubba Wallace in response to that incident was heartwarming, and brought tears to my eyes
If racism has been a “blindspot” in the minds of many in our society, then of even more importance is “blindness” about the current occurrence of global warming. Certainly a major reason for that “blindness” is that our governments are not telling us the truth about how unbearable and how bad global warming is going to get. Many catastrophic global warming consequences are going to arrive far sooner than we are being told. Some of these coming catastrophic global warming consequences are already unavoidable!
It’s not just that governments have been remiss in not informing the public about the threat posed by global warming. “Media silence” about the threat is of even more importance:
At a time when civilization is accelerating toward disaster, climate silence continues to reign across the bulk of the US news media. Especially on television, where most Americans still get their news, the brutal demands of ratings and money work against adequate coverage of the biggest story of our time. Many newspapers, too, are failing the climate test. Last October, the scientists of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report, warning that humanity had a mere 12 years to radically slash greenhouse gas emissions or face a calamitous future in which hundreds of millions of people worldwide would go hungry or homeless or worse. Only 22 of the 50 biggest newspapers in the United States covered that report.
Commercial media rely on advertising for their support, thus must not alienate their advertisers. Firms that advertise, in turn, must not alienate customers, and that fact may very well explain their unwillingness to have the media give out information about global warming—even though they may know about global warming, and the threat that it poses!!
Their “blindness” may be understandable, given the “capitalistic” nature of our economy; however, that “blindness” does not bode well for the future of our species!!!
I apologize for concluding this essay on such a pessimistic note, but see no alternative!
I wish that this “blindness” could be healed, but don’t foresee that occurring.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
1. Donald Capps was "was an American theologian and William Harte Felmeth Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary."
2. Donald Capps, "Jesus the Village Psychiatrist," Westminster John Knox Press (2008), ISBN 066423240X. Available from the Amazon.com book section in Kindle format for $9.99, and in Paperback for $22.38.
3. A friend and I attended the Friends Meeting House here in Milwaukee several years ago. After the meeting, while talking with one of the members, I happened to use the term “service” for their meeting, and was quickly corrected: “Service is what we do after our meetings.” (!!)
Original posting: 2020-JAN-23
Author: Alton C. Thompson