Homes fall into disrepair often out of neglect. The cost to rehab an old house may not be immediately clear. No one knows what unseen costs lie behind old sheet rock or underneath old carpet.
Neglected views often become the normal view. That is, sometimes we get accustomed to what we see that we have not taken the time to evaluate its condition. About the time we need to sell that house, or old car for that matter, it becomes immediately clear what has been let go.
Consider Ferguson, Missouri, something of a metaphor. Not to reduce the events to some mere signification and ignore the grief, pain, and anger experienced by real people. No, think of Ferguson as a metaphor for how a new view, in this case the view of equal rights fought for in the Civil Rights Movement, becomes a neglected view.
Some appear to take for granted that the Civil Rights Movement achieved equality. It did not. But, if that is the view, that everyone now has equal rights, fostered by the lack of segregated water fountains, it is easy to see that those who did not participate in that fight, because there was no need to fight for equality, come to think the recent events are somehow not an expression of racism.
But, the Civil Rights Movement started something rather than achieved something.
It got forestalled when the visible expressions were removed. But, that did not address the underlying systems designed under the old view. Neglecting to work through the ways the new view should recast, reshaped, even rid us of the old view, means the now new view languishes. It becomes the neglected view.
Driving from La Veta to Trinidad a few months ago we spotted this old church. Time and circumstance resulted in neglect. Every passerby notices the structure that once called a community to a new way to look at the world. Call it an outpost intended to be signpost of a future that would include the value of all human beings made in what Christians refer to as the image of God. It is a description in our Sacred Text that became more a means to distinguish between animal and human than what was likely intended as a means to convey that in relationship all human beings bear the value of the Creator rather than just a select few. Have churches neglected to champion the value of human beings made in the image of God?
Naturally the new view recast in the teaching of Jesus, to include tribes and groups ignored by power, both civil and religious, languished as the systems designed under an old view, where hierarchies in and among tribes reigned, stood the threat of the new. What’s more, churches often neglected the new view that could have helped form a brave new world where everyone is valued.
Maybe there is a chance to revisit the now neglected view as communities all over our Country ask the question, “What now?” Could it be the collective, all of us, need not point the finger at the other but develop an awareness of the other/Other where all are valued? We all bear responsibility for the world in which we live. Maybe it is time to revisit that Radical whose living with the other/Other calls us all to Love our neighbor as ourselves.