Grossnickle Church of the Brethren

Continuing the work of Jesus.  Peacefully.  Simply.  Together.

Installment #4

13 Jan 2011 12:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear
You've got to be taught
From year to Year
It's got to be drummed
in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
To be Afraid
Of people whose eyes
are oddly made
And people whose skin
Is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
Before it's too late
Before you are 6 or 7 or 8
To hate all the people
your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught

Many years ago Oscar Hammerstein II went to James Michner with the words to this song.  The musical South Pacific was written and ready for publication.  But Hammerstein wasn’t sure about the lyrics to this song.  His question to Michner was, “Should I take this song out of the musical.”  Michner reflected to his friend.  You absolutely must leave them in.   South Pacific became controversial in some ways because of this simple song placed well into the Second Act.  Yet it spoke of Hammerstein’s deepest beliefs.  Truly we are carefully taught to hate.

Many have reflected on the events in Tucson during these last days.  They leave me speechless, heartbroken.  As a member of the clergy they leave me wondering about how mightily my colleagues and I have failed.

I’m with the pundit who said this event was not so much about mental illness, though it is about that, not so much about guns, though it is about that.  It is about hate.

And so I have spent these days wondering about these questions. 

What words do I say about those I disagree with that may be

perceived as hate?

What groups of folks do I talk about negatively, derisively?

Who do I pull down or demean?

What have my children learned from me in these moments?

How can I/we make a witness to Jesus Christ by the ways in which we disagree?  How can I be more Christ like toward those I disagree with?

Jesus of Nazareth said, “Love your enemies.  Pray for those who persecute you.”  Surely these are among his most difficult teachings.  But we are called to follow, especially now.  In a world that seems so out of control, on the highways, in the stadium, at the shopping center, waiting in line, in the halls of congress, in the halls of our schools, on the athletic fields of our communities, how can we reach out to each other?  How can we let the Spirit of God guide us to the gift of self control, for the sake of the children, for the sake of our neighbors, for the sake of the world, for the sake of the congresswoman?

We do have to be taught to hate.

Lord, please teach us about love, especially now.


  • 25 Feb 2011 3:33 PM | Anonymous member
    Quote - "When Jesus said "Love Thy Neighbor", I think he meant don't kill them."
    If we all could truly understand and follow this command.

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