Magazine article The Christian Century

In Need of Self-Doubt. (What's Changed? Reflections on September 11)

Magazine article The Christian Century

In Need of Self-Doubt. (What's Changed? Reflections on September 11)

Article excerpt

Until "Go shopping!" became the favored response, there were a few weeks when the media and public intellectuals reflected on why 9/11 happened. Then the window closed. Neither our national nor our religious leaders have offered us sustained help in repairing the unlovely sides of the American lifestyle and foreign policy that contribute to our situation. Our dignity now comes, not from the joy of conscious integrity, but vicariously, through our rescue workers--men trained to respond with skill, brawn and determination when what needs to be done is immediate and clear.

The glee in parts of the world at our vulnerability should give us pause. We stand united behind a lifestyle that we insist on exporting, even though others may not want it. Our foreign policy pursues our interests, not the needs of those around the globe. We act as if the world were no more than a market for our goods. Perhaps it was sometime around the Columbine school shootings that we started to realize that something is wrong, and it has something to do with us, not them. …

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