I read the news today, always a dangerous thing. First the poem then the links and background, last, a perspective.


by J. Randal Matheny

Anarchists threw the baby out
The bus’s window, on her head,
Set fire to rage, to chaos, devout;
In tears and fear the mother fled.

For years she suffered his abuse,
Her childhood stolen, family gone;
Imprisoned in a neighborhood house,
A backyard toy, a sexual pawn.

The boyfriend pitched her over the parapet
And off the bridge into dark water;
Possessed by passion, jealous fit,
No thought that she was some man’s daughter.

Our staggering world is this, which fills
With hate and insincerity;
Where brother betrays a brother and kills —
Barefaced Barbarity.

The first piece of criminal news, in the first stanza, happened Wednesday in Sao Paulo. The one-year old fell on her head, but survived the fall.

The second you’ve heard about in the U.S.

The third crime happened last Saturday about 50 miles from the capital. The 15-year-old girl faked being unconscious and survived the 10-meter drop into the river.

The last line is a phrase of the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quoted in today’s commentary by Thomas Sowell.

Isn’t this an entry for UPLift, where we highlight the positive and seek to motivate ourselves for good? Absolutely. But no pie-in-the-sky attitudes here that don’t take into account the evil that permeates our world.

The greatest evils thrive in our neighborhoods. We must not ignore their presence. At the same time, we must find in the midst of such despairing news a reason for faith and joy and love. A motive for carrying on that will sustain us under the darkest and coldest storm. A path that will show us the way and guide us so that our hearts and hands will be innocent and right and blessed.

I have found that path, my friends. And in the swirl of news that would damage our hearts and damn our souls, I urge you to follow it with me.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

3 thoughts on “Barbarities

  1. You know, I was really impacted when I realized the word “righteousness” should really be translated “justice.” (like in Spanish and probably Portuguese) Somehow “Seek first the Kingdom of God and its JUSTICE” hits me harder. Christians are about seeking justice in this world, working for justice, advocating justice. We can’t close our eyes to what goes on around us or seclude ourselves in a monastery. We have to be in the trenches, seeking the justice that the Kingdom of God brings into this world.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  2. Portuguese also has only the word “justice” (justiça) for dikaiosune. But it does have a couple of synonyms, retidão (uprightness), equidade (fairness).

    Are you translating from the Spanish for Matt 6:33? I’ve never seen it translated at “its justice.”

    You’re right that we can’t be the ostrich with the head in a hole, but justice in the NT is never this-world. The hard lesson to learn is that this life isn’t fair.

    So I can’t see ourselves as advocates of justice working the political systems of the countries we live in. Seems to me that through evangelism, the preaching of the word of God which produces communities of justice, and through the justice of God poured out through forgiveness of sins, that we are promoting the justice which will have eternal effects.

  3. Interesting bit of trivia… William Tyndale invented the word “righteousness” when he translated the New Testament. Didn’t exist before. So I took the liberty of inserting the word “justice” there. Yes, it would follow the Spanish translation.

    I definitely agree about not working through the political systems to achieve justice. Real justice comes from God’s Kingdom, not the kingdoms of this world.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

What do you think?