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Why the snark in the face of memory?

Why the snark in the face of memory?

Some people are apparently a little weary of all the remembering going on today. Which is strange coming from a tradition built on anamnesis.

Kurt C. Wiesner posts on his blog that maybe this is a day to be kind and to just listen.

Today is the 50 year anniversary of JFK’s assassination.

There are a lot of people remembering not just what happened, but specifically where THEY were when they heard the news.

There are some who are negatively remarking about these personal remembrances, as if to say with snark, “it’s not about you”.

Having been born in 1972, I have no personal memory of JFK’s assassination. But I do remember where I was when I heard that the Challenger had exploded…and that the planes had been crashed into the Twin Towers. I know that there is something about those two events that, for me, I will always remember where I was, and why the world seemed different from then on.

This kind of thing matters to our being community.

Be kind and patient today with those who are remembering: listen to their stories, and understand that you share this moment with them…even if it happened before you were born.

Anamnesis— which means recollecting God’s story–is at the heart of an incarnational faith.

As a guy who grew up listening to stories of depression and world war from my parents and grandparents, I know that these tales can get a little wearying at times…but these stories are what make memory and so create meaning–not just for them, but for all of us.

That’s why we must keep telling and hearing the stories…stories of holocaust, slavery, of civil disobedience, of war, of natural disaster, of migration, of oppression, of liberation… stories of where we were “when….”

It’s not being clever, ironic, or witty to write off these memories with a wave of a tweet. It’s being dismissive. When we dismiss these stories we end up dismissing the people who lived them. Without anamnesis we are left with amnesia.


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