[News] Minister fed up with injustice, sets self on fire

Cajungal

Staff member
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/07/16/79-year-old-retired-reverend-set-himself-on-fire-to-inspire-social-justice/

This one hurts. A retired minister felt like he hadn't done enough to promote equality and justice, so he set himself on fire publicly. It was his way of calling for justice one final time.

For someone to be so heartbroken and sick over the evils of the world that he resorted to this? I am so sorry he's gone, because we need people like him around. I'd never heard about the man before today, but I will think about him all the time from now on.
 
Read it as well. I dunno. Why is this getting so much attention, other than to annoy the right wing pastors saying they'd set themselves on fire to fight gay marriage? There's hundreds of people committing suicide for similar reasons every day.
Frankly, it saddens me that someone like this apparently didn't find or have access to the right support to be made to see that his life did have purpose as it was and that he did achieve something. This is a failure of his support network, not a bold statement of holiness and worth. Just my €0.02.
 
It seems like he had dedicated himself to trying to right a lot of wrongs in the world. It's sad he felt this was the only way to really reach people. :(
 
He did this a year ago... So to add insult to injury, no one noticed until bigots starting threatening to set themselves on fire over the looming spectre of gay marriage.
 

Cajungal

Staff member
Yes, that sucks.

@Bubble181 I won't remember him because I think he was especially holy. I'm going to remember him because every day I'm surrounded by snark and cynicism. And whether he was or was not in his right mind in the end, he represents a level of care and soft - heartedness that I don't usually see in people over the age of 10.
 
Yes, that sucks.

@Bubble181 I won't remember him because I think he was especially holy. I'm going to remember him because every day I'm surrounded by snark and cynicism. And whether he was or was not in his right mind in the end, he represents a level of care and soft - heartedness that I don't usually see in people over the age of 10.
Hey, me and Gas have to work very hard to keep you completely surrounded all day! :p

There's other people, all the time, all over, who are continuously showing caring and soft-heartedness and gentleness and kindness. By all accounts, this man was one of them. It's sad and a failure of the system/his support network that he became convinced he had to light himself on fire. There are other, better ways of calling attention to an issue. He was 79 and had done much for people around him; he was entitled to a well-deserved rest. If you care, cherish his memory and go out and do something. Or, you know, become snarky and cynical :p
 

Cajungal

Staff member
I won't dispute that this is not what should have happened. He should have had help.

Not really looking for advice.
 
I spent a year as a live-in intern for the Methodist student organization on campus. It hurt my faith worse than any one event. Since I was working with the minister, I was privy to the "private" prayer requests, and fellow students would approach me for advice and prayer. I learned that this is a broken world, and it's a human problem - caused by humans. The number of people dealing with such terrible and tragic aspects of life is/was overwhelming for me. I felt powerless. Prayer never seemed enough for me, but most of the situations had no answers. How does one reconcile starving babies and abusive parents and rape and genocide and every day hate and violence? Also, sadly in retrospect my piety was overshadowed with my sanctimonious bullshit.

I try to avoid the news now; even though it's sort of like burying my head in the sand. I don't really attend church. I have become colder and quite cynical. I worry about my children and this jacked-up world they will be inheriting. I don't know what I will say to them when they ask me why others suffer; especially when it's just a matter of geography and bad luck.

I empathize with this man. I couldn't hack a year in a ministerial position. I don't know how he dealt with a lifetime of human destruction and chaos. I hope he has peace now.

There are no real answers now. Those with faith would say there are mysterious ways and there is a plan, but few are coming up with solutions to solve the current situation outside of salvation. It's unfortunate.
 
When I first clicked on this, I thought this was one of the ministers who threatened to set themselves on fire over the recent Senate decision on gay marriage.

But I was wrong. He was the complete opposite on that.

Which makes this incredibly painful to read. He sounded like a wonderful person. :(
 
I worry about my children and this jacked-up world they will be inheriting. I don't know what I will say to them when they ask me why others suffer; especially when it's just a matter of geography and bad luck.
I think the only thing that might be more terrifying than the idea of "some suffer because of randomness" is the idea that everybody gets exactly what they deserve. The latter is much more terrifying IMO.


And btw, Theodicy is "fun".



(so SO not).
X
 
I think the only thing that might be more terrifying than the idea of "some suffer because of randomness" is the idea that everybody gets exactly what they deserve. The latter is much more terrifying IMO.
Do you mean cosmically? As in a final judgement sort of way?
 
I think the only thing that might be more terrifying than the idea of "some suffer because of randomness" is the idea that everybody gets exactly what they deserve. The latter is much more terrifying IMO.


And btw, Theodicy is "fun".



(so SO not).
X
I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying it would be more terrifying if we all got what we deserved, or it is more terrifying to think that what happens is what we deserve?
 
I think what he might be getting at is the belief (by some) that this is "Hell," and that we are currently experiencing the punishment for whatever it is we did in our "real" lives.

--Patrick
 
Chad - No
I think what he might be getting at is the belief (by some) that this is "Hell," and that we are currently experiencing the punishment for whatever it is we did in our "real" lives.
(intentional pun here) HELL NO!


I'm saying that if we actually got punished for everything "bad" we actually did, from the least to the most, NONE of us are really "good" at all, really. That's why the whole christian belief of Grace (actual forgiveness without needing to "pay" or "atone", just be actually sorry) is awesome, and much better than "perfect justice" in whatever form. Yes I know that's a totally inadequate, and may even be a "wrong" definition of Grace, but it works for this conversation IMO.

The flip side of this, where everybody IS getting what they "deserve" because of their life, their family's life (paying for the sins of family, which some believe), etc, is a terrifying concept, because nobody's THAT good.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
I'm not a religious person by most folks' measure, but even I can get on board with the concept of "without the possibility of being evil, the concept of good is meaningless." That, logically, means that any deity who wants to permit his creations their own free will must, at many points, allow bad things to happen to good people through no fault of the victims.

That doesn't preclude karma, however, and of course if we ARE all held to account for our misdeeds once we shuffle off this mortal coil... well, as the man said, that's another discussion.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
I think what he might be getting at is the belief (by some) that this is "Hell," and that we are currently experiencing the punishment for whatever it is we did in our "real" lives.

--Patrick
Pauline said this is what she believed multiple times. I have a hard time blaming her, given the trials of her life, but I don't agree with her any more than Eriol does.
 
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