No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Jn 15:13

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In the first chapter of his book The Undiscovered Self, Carl Jung, M.D., makes the point that in mass culture the individual person is marginalized, becomes anonymous, loses a sense of meaning, and the mass and the centralized state becomes the apex of existence.

In present day America we say little about the psychological consequences of what Jung identifies, but there are profound consequences that result when man loses meaning.  For one, moral conscience expires.

Look at the failure of our government leaders or the Church to respond to the religious genocide we now see.  Wish to understand it?  Think about Kitty Genovese.

Ms. Genovese was a 28-year-old woman who was savagely murdered and raped on a New York street in the early morning in 1964 while those who heard the commotion did nothing to intervene.

Her murder and the lack of response by those who were aware of the assault on her, gave rise to an examination by social psychologists of the inertia of her neighbors.  The result?  The psychologists identified the “bystander effect.”

They established that those who witness a problem are less likely to respond when more than one of them witnesses the difficulty.  The point that they make is this: groups diffuse responsibility.  The larger the group the less anyone is responsible for anything.  Have we not seen this “in spades” in the federal government where no one seems responsible for anything that goes wrong, even when one or more runs afoul of the law?  More often than not bonuses are afforded those clearly responsible.

Coupling mass culture with ideology and you have a paralysis, an inability to act – a built-in bias not to act in any manner that exceeds the small and narrow mindset of your ideological view of the world.

Have an ideology that cares little about faith: why respond to those who are killed because of their faith?  It is for the ideologue a non-issue, something they cannot experience.

As to the silence of the Church, our clerical leaders have not kept current on the radical changes in the culture. Living behind walls, they have no inkling of how culture has turned against belief, and surely no appreciation for social psychology and mass communications – let alone digital communication and social media. They offer in their words as to yesterday’s people and conditions.

Yes, faith is ageless truth – but ministry and commentary requires knowledge of today.  And today, we seem unable to comprehend laying down one’s life for another.

Kitty Genovese written large.  This is a bad place to be.  A fatal place for person, faith and country.

Shalom.

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