The truth is, I’ve been trying to find some way to do a story that would include the attached You Tube video because I was bawling my eyes out when I heard it and just feel so compelled to share it. Next to Psalm 23, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” touched my heart immensely. So how does this tie in to domestic violence?
Well, as you might imagine, domestic violence (living it or working in it) is some pretty hard-hitting, life-draining, stress-inducing stuff and trying to find some happiness or joy while in it can be really tough, ie:
“Yay! I escaped an abusive relationship without being killed! Now I just have to evade his stalking!”
“Yay! She escaped the abusive relationship without being killed! Now I hope she’s able to evade his stalking!”
Even good news in DV has a morbid tinge to it so I’m always on the look-out for hopeful, happy, inspirational, optimistic stuff to contradict the oppressive and depressive nature of domestic violence.
A point the You Tube poem beautifully illustrates is the dichotomy within the same cause, which is something I’ve seen too often within social service institutions.
When I first started my career right out of undergrad school, I had the misfortune to see administrative manipulation sometimes teetering on outright exploitation of the population I was working with. A young 20 something year-old crying foul in her first professional position doesn’t lend itself to job security and career advancement so I sought the counsel of established staff, one of whom told me that “Not all people working in this field are doing so for the same reason you are; some are in it for the fame or the fortune”.
Fame or fortune?! Are you kidding me?! Social service jobs are some of the most unglamorous jobs out there (and the worst paying I might add) so “fame and fortune”? Really? I was told in response that, “Money is money – whether that’s a paycheck, welfare check, someone else’s welfare check, a grant, an allocation – and if someone has the opportunity to make a buck, s/he may not care how it’s acquired so long as s/he has it at the end of the day”. There went my naivete…
As to the “fame” factor, there are actually those who will go into human services work to seek the spotlight, accolades, job titles, attention and camera exposure (regardless of the ten pounds the camera does put on) who are willing to forsake the populations they’ve been entrusted to serve for personal aspirations and vanity, just to get those 15 minutes and/or to be hailed for the chairs that they sit in. When you see a prominently displayed folder tacked to the wall labeled “Pictures of Mufi and Me” it’s hard not to wonder whose interests are really being served.
The Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus poem touched upon these very themes where those who profess themselves to be “saviors” may in actuality be nothing of the sort. I think the Bible referred to them as “false prophets” but whatever their title, the fact is that they’re artificial. Add the lethal combination of ignorance and arrogance to the mix and the ground is fertile for corruption, self-service and the oppression of those who can be.
With politics taking center stage on both the local and national scenes (that is sure to only build going into November) and with so much volatility surrounding us in every aspect of our lives these days, I think it’s important for us to use a critical eye when looking at our leaders and have a discerning ear when listening to what we’re being told is “the truth”. Domestic violence victims learn the hard way NOT to think critically (or to speak out about it) when in the abusive relationship and look what happens to them over the long-term when they learn to comply or are forced into submission…
A dear friend from high school used to have a t-shirt that read “Question Authority” and I just loved what that implied. In the context of a hierarchal system, “questioning authority” can be seen as provoking a challenge in defiance yet in the context of a personal relationship, “questioning authority” can be an invitation to learn, grow and explore (which may also work reciprocally if the authority figure being questioned is not the Son of God – in that case, I don’t think we have anything of value to really teach Him that He truly doesn’t already know).
Whenever the response to questioning authority is a slap-down (emotionally or physically) or a threat (direct or implied) you’re in the presence of a Pharisee as referenced to in the You Tube video because self-righteous arrogance lends itself easily to such a response. When questioning authority is met with humility and leads to justice, peace, wisdom and truth, smile – because you’re standing in the presence of a servant of God.