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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Lent / Tarot / Justice

Lady Justice by Jude Fine Art
Teacher: Your final grade is an F.

Student: You can't give me an F. An F will cause me pain.

Teacher: I didn't give you an F. You gave yourself an F.

Student: Give me a B. A B would make my life so much more pleasant.

Teacher: You were repeatedly absent. You never handed in any work. You failed all tests.

Student: I am a member of group X. We have suffered great injustices.

Teacher: Yes, I know. There are many members of group X in class. Some earned As, some Bs, some Cs. Their grades reflected their individuality, not their classification in some hierarchy of grievance.

Student: I'm going to react badly to this.

Teacher: I can see that.

Student: Is it really worth it to cause me so much suffering over something so trivial? I mean, this is not something important, like sports or popular music or expensive consumer items. Who really cares about school? Just give me the damn grade.

Teacher: In our class, we focus on material that, properly applied, could improve the lives of millions of children. *That* wasn't worth your time. To you it's just trivial and meaningless and a means to an end.

Student: Huh? Did you give me an A yet? I've been complaining for a long time. You are causing me pain. You're not allowed to do that. I'll complain.

Teacher: No.

Student: I'll lodge a complaint with your boss.

Teacher: Take a number.

Student: You hate me because I am a member of group X.

Teacher: No, I love you. And I mean that in an entirely impersonal way. I can tell by the way you are acting that you have been trained all your life to trade sad stories for grades. I refuse to contribute to that. If you learn nothing else from me, perhaps you will learn that prostituting your pain is a dead-end. And maybe, just maybe, you will, at some point, come to respect scholarship, knowledge, and truth, which are worth suffering for. I have suffered for them. Millions have suffered for them. Prisoners in the Gulag. Slaves who yearned to read. Publishers, and readers, of samizdat. People who would have given their blood, sweat and tears for what you threw away.

***

It's close to the end of the spring semester. All across America, the above conversation is taking place, in various forms.

Today's randomly drawn tarot card is Justice. Today Senate Republicans used the nuclear option to clear the way for Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the Supreme Court. This breaks my heart. How much more division can our country take? What they did to Merrick Garland was a crime. Garland is a good man. Senate Republicans treated him disgracefully.

Most of us piece together justice over much smaller matters.

The big question, of course, is how God handles justice.

Two favorite verses:

"He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?" – Micah 6:8


"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'" 1 Samuel 16:7

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