What To Say?

Last night after putting the boys to bed I logged onto Andrew Sullivan's blog The Dish and saw he was live blogging something. I surfed around and found out that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by American Special Operations Forces. I called out to Jana and told her the news. We turned on the TV, found Brian Williams on NBC, and watched the President's address and the resultant celebrations at the White House and Ground Zero in NY.

What to say?

Actually, I really don't want to say anything. That's why I haven't posted about this until now. And I'm posting now simply to announce that I don't have anything to say. Well, more precisely, I have a lot to say, but it's all jumbled up inside of me. I have my psychological reactions, my theological reactions, my American reactions, my Christian reactions, my pacifist reactions, my just war reactions, my Yoderian reactions, my Niebuhrian reactions, and on and on and on...

I have too much to say. I have nothing to say. And it has all been said before. Over and over.

I'm opting for silence.

Pax Christi.

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15 thoughts on “What To Say?”

  1. I came here tonight specifically looking for your reaction. I must say that I like it.

    As a very dear friend of mine often says: Silence is grace.

  2. "I have too much to say"... I understand. At those times, I find it helpful to hear simple thoughts. I love the simple, heart-felt emotion in my daughter's blog post today. Her reaction is the simple one of a mother holding and talking to her baby:
    ".....It's hard to imagine, but today I am hoping and praying that one day when you ask me about September 11th the world will be a less war-torn place."
    simple, beautiful... and real.

  3. I've been hearing this discussed for over 24 hours now, and this is the most sensible thing anyone has yet said.

  4. My sentiments exactly. Thanks for not saying much but saying a lot at the same time.

  5. ya know rich our American forces have a lot of real BAD DUDES, I happen mean by that he was a dead man walking, these people tore up two buildings, we have in response dang near tore up two countries.
    ya want to run with the big dogs,ya got to learn to pee in the tall grass.
    war is not good but thank god,in a lot of ways for the people that know how to pee in the tall grass!!!!!!!!

  6. I know what you mean. I, too, had pretty much decided that there was too much background noise in my brain to say anything helpful. But there are only so many hip-hip-hooray! facebook posts you can tolerate from friends and family before you've gotta say SOMETHING, so I eventually did:


    Take whatever processing time you need, but I for one would appreciate your thoughts.

  7. Hi Josh,
    Thanks for the link. I enjoyed and resonated with your post very much. And the MLK quote at the end is just awesome.

    I'll likely say something about all this. Today a post started rolling around in my head. But it's not about the whole Christian and the State relationship. I don't have any novel insights into that vast theological literature. It's more about our moral psychology and my thoughts about Mike Huckabee's comment "Welcome to hell." About why that sentiment feels right, psychologically, but might be, down the road, a theological trouble spot.

  8. The quote's been making the rounds. I think somewhere in there someone misplaced a quotation mark. The first sentence is not MLK, but the last three (starting with "Returning hate for hate") are.

  9. Thanks, Tim. Someone said it was misquoted, but didn't say how. I will go change that. One thing I love about this internet that I also (sort of) hate is the way it can provide instantaneous, corrective feedback... which makes it harder for me to get away with the sort of grandiose oversimplifications I used to love making on essays in college :)

  10. Thanks, Dr. Richard :)

    I've been thinking a bit about what a blog is FOR. I've usually made an effort to stay out of controversial, current topics. Setting aside the fact that truth is a slow-speaking, thoughtful thing, it has also seemed to me that no one really listens to anyone who disagrees with them, anyways.

    But today, one of my high school students stopped me in the hall and said she liked and agreed with my post on Osama (that I'd written only a few hours before - proving once again that campus firewall's are no match for teen ingenuity). It started to get me wondering if perhaps there is a role for me in these sorts of things, if only to be a voice for the many people like my student who feel strongly about things, but haven't got the words or the training to express it.

    I dunno. It's a dangerous thing to take up words against a sea of troubles, and I am in many ways very, very afraid. So thank you, again, for the encouragement.

  11. I am so glad I came across this post. Thank you.

    When I heard "Osama bin Laden has been killed" I didn't know what I thought, let alone how I felt! I heard the statement AFTER I was bombarded with images of people dancing in front of The White House, so I was reacting to other people's reactions before the actual news itself... which I still haven't processed.. -Mezz

  12. Bless you for that. There's a lot of us out here, I think, just staring into the middle distance. Sometimes saying nothing says it all.


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