Friday, April 14, 2006

From Verbum ipsum
RIP the Revd William Sloane Coffin (more)
He knew I spoke some Russian so he'd playfully use his--acquired during World War II when he entered a Russian language program in military intelligence. Because of his facility with languages, Coffin was made a liaison to the Russian army and, in 1946, he took part in operations to forcibly repatriate Soviet citizens who had been taken prisoner. He forever repented for this episode, writing in his memoir that it "left me a burden of guilt, I am sure to carry the rest of my life." That burden, he later said, influenced his decision to spend three years in the CIA opposing Stalin's regime. But Coffin was quick to tell you that while he was anti-Soviet he was also very "pro-Russian."
ABERNETHY: Are you a pacifist?

COFFIN: Fifty-one/forty-nine. I'm a nuclear pacifist, that's for sure. But there is an irremediable stubbornness about evil. We have to recognize it, including our own complicity in it. We have to constrain it, but I doubt we will ever eradicate it.

God is not too hard to believe in. God is too good to believe in, we being such strangers to such goodness. The love of God is to me absolutely overwhelming.

It's clear to me, two things: that almost every square inch of the Earth's surface is soaked with the tears and blood of the innocent, and it's not God's doing. It's our doing. That's human malpractice. Don't chalk it up to God. Every time people say, when they see the innocent suffering, every time they lift their eyes to heaven and say, "God, how could you let this happen?" it's well to remember that exactly at that moment God is asking exactly the same question of us: "How could you let this happen?" So you have to take responsibility.

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